Fornaroli’s fortune on the sidelines
HE is the most expensive train-on player in Australian football history, with no resolution in sight in Bruno Fornaroli's bitter fallout with Melbourne City.
Exiled Fornaroli is earning $23,000 a week to merely train, with the prospect of pocketing another $250,000 minimum in bonuses before departing at the end of the season.
Former Socceroos great John Kosmina called for common sense to prevail and for City's record goalscorer to be reinstated.
It's believed negotiations over a contract termination have stalled, with a furious Fornaroli digging in his heels by refusing a lesser payout offer.
The Uruguayan sought a release to Perth Glory in the January transfer window after agreeing to join the club next season, but City officials blocked the move.
City chiefs are standing their ground, backing coach Warren Joyce despite Fornaroli's marquee contract understood to have big bonuses attached to his $1.2 million base salary, including six-figure sums for City making the finals, qualifying for the Asian Champions League and winning the title.
"How much is enough punishment? It's ridiculous, gone past all boundaries. It's proved its point,'' Kosmina said.
"It has gone on long enough because it's punishing everybody - the club and the league. Everyone could come out of this smelling a whole lot better if everyone decided to move on and get the football sorted.
"Bruno Fornaroli is hard work to manage - I don't mean to be disrespectful. He's almost in that category of a temperamental genius.
"The club maybe need to consider an olive branch. But the other side is that Bruno needs to show a bit of remorse because he broke an agreement.
"He hasn't quite been the same player since the (ankle) injury. He played a few games and scored typical Fornaroli goal (in his last game for City).
"Culture is a word that people hide behind. We've got a great culture so we're successful, bad culture so we're not. Some schmuck realised he can make a bucketload of money doing leadership seminars.
"It's the age of entitlement of the pro footballer and football's a business. Unfortunately it's more about the business than anything these days."
Joyce has refused to divulge the reasons behind the fallout, but it's understood high skinfold levels prompted his axing.
While Socceroo Jamie Maclaren has scored three goals in his first three games for City, Ned Zelic said they missed Fornaroli's x-factor.
"You're missing one that can unlock defences. Fornaroli's the guy that in that final third can dismantle that deep structure,'' Zelic said.
"When the opposition sets up a good defensive block, (City) have huge issues.
"Every player needs to think automatically what am I trying to achieve with this pass and what can (he) do with the ball."
WHAT $23,000 CAN GET YOU
- New Hyundai i30
- Family holiday to New York (Premium economy return + four nights stay at 5-star hotel for four people)
- Round-the-world cruise (106 nights) with Sea Princess (Princess Cruises)
- A ticket to Vanity Fair Oscar's Afterparty ticket
- Motorcycle-themed Las Vegas Beach Party package for 10, including table service from leather bikini-clad models on real Harleys
- Fully furnished safari-style tent for four people in exclusive area at Coachella Music Festival