Maurizio Sarri smoking a cigarette in Lazio training has divided opinion amongst fans
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Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri was spotted smoking a cigarette while his players prepared for their Europa Conference League clash against AZ Alkmaar, with the training footage since going viral.
The 64-year-old Italian, who is said to average around four packets of cigarettes a day [there's 15 in a packet], would often enjoy a mid-game smoke.
In fact, at one stage, former club Napoli built Sarri his own smoking area inside their stadium, while Europa League opponents RB Leipzig constructed a designated area in the away dressing room for his arrival.
In more recent times, stadiums have become non-smoking venues, meaning the former Chelsea boss is banned from lighting up on the touchline, although he did resort to chewing tobacco during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri, however, has been known to enjoy a cigarette in training. Take this week's session ahead of Lazio's Europa Conference League game against AZ Alkmaar, for example.
The experienced coach, who replaced Simone Inzaghi as Lazio boss in 2021, could be seen puffing on a cig while standing next to his players.
You can see that footage below.
🇮🇹🚬 Maurizio Sarri casually lighting up a cigarette in Lazio training ahead of tonight's UECL game vs AZ Alkmaar!pic.twitter.com/xKn8Iv1d8x— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) March 7, 2023
His antics divided opinion as the clip continues to go viral on social media.
One fan said: "Absolutely rank. The smell of it while training is disgusting," while another wrote: "This is not professional tbh."
A third commented: "He's not playing, is he? What's the problem?"
A fourth added: "Maybe it’s because I played a lot more when i was younger but i wouldn’t be able to train properly with the smell of cigarettes around the pitch. Idk this just isn’t it."
Lazio went on to lose their Europa Conference League first leg, despite taking an early lead through Pedro.
AZ Alkmaar forward Vangelis Pavlidis equalised just before half-time for the visitors, who went on to secure a deserved 2-1 win against Maurizio Sarri's men thanks to a Milos Kerkez winner.
Sarri said his players "had the wrong attitude" during the ECL fixture.
In his post-match press conference, the Italian said: "After a good start, we dropped back and played in the last twenty metres. We overdid things going back towards the goalkeeper instead of keeping them away from our goal.
“We created a lot, we could have won 4-2 but we made a lot of mistakes in front of goal. We were talking about it this morning, we are scoring less, but we are creating more chances. It means we’ve lost nastiness and focus.”