UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Atletico Madrid v AC Milan - Vicente Calderon Clarence Seedorf, AC Milan manager, 11 March, 2014

When Clarence Seedorf coped with being sacked by banging a hat-trick

There are many different ways that you can cope with being sacked.

You can immediately start looking for new jobs, you can drown your sorrows, or you can tear apart a bunch of celebrities at a charity football match.

Unfortunately for such celebrities, Clarence Seedorf chose the last of those options when he suffered such a fate, and it was brutal.

It was the early summer of 2014 and, four months after the Dutchman was given his first job in management at AC Milan, he was about to lose it.

His time in charge of his former club hadn’t been disastrous by any means.

He’d led the side to their first five-match winning run in four years, victory in the Milan derby and had even taken them from the bottom half of the table to the edge of the European qualification places.

Nevertheless, club president Silvio Berlusconi had his heart set on replacing him with Filippo Inzaghi.

By the second week of June, after weeks of rumours, his fate was finally sealed with his sacking being announced that Sunday, the day after he took part in Soccer Aid for the second time.

Going by comments Berlusconi had made a few days earlier though, it seemed certain the decision had already been made prior to that weekend.

“We’ll see at the next board meeting what solution we find for Clarence Seedorf but that’s enough talking about the past, we are looking to the future,” he said.

“I’ve seen that Inzaghi is very determined, hungry for victory and absolutely in line with everything we want Milan to be. We want a team which wins, plays convincingly and entertains the fans.”

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READ: Fallen Giants: Lamenting the loss of Milan as European heavyweights

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It’s fair to assume that Seedorf knew he was out of a job prior to that match, which perhaps explains the performance he put in.

A number of former top players have competed in Soccer Aid over the years but given it’s for charity, they tend to go easy on their celebrity opponents.

Sure, there will be the occasional glimpse of quality to get the crowd going but generally, they don’t take things too seriously and allow the non-pros to hog the limelight.

In 2014 though, either Seedorf didn’t get the memo or couldn’t give two sh*ts about it, because there was not a shred of mercy in him.

The match started in a fun, light-hearted manner with Jose Mourinho running onto the pitch to tackle Olly Murs and everyone having a good chuckle.

Well, almost everyone.

Amidst all the laughs, Seedorf was deadly serious, painting a picture of genuine frustration when he missed a chance half an hour in, poking the ball just wide.

Given that, it was no surprise that he was the man to open the scoring soon afterwards.

At the start of the second half, former team-mate Andriy Shevchenko laid the ball off for him just inside the box.

Making it emphatically clear he was in no mood to f*ck about, he thumped it into the top of the net with all the power his legs could muster. Poor old Jamie Theakston never stood a chance.

He wasn’t the only ex-Netherlands international on the pitch giving it his all, with Edgar Davids getting into a bust-up with Jonathan Wilkes.

While it was one of Soccer Aid’s funniest moments, Seedorf again was in no mood for laughing and gave his compatriot a talking to.

The Rest of the World side doubled their lead through Nicky Byrne soon afterwards but then took their foot off the gas, with goals from Jamie Redknapp and Kevin Phillips levelling things up.

With the equaliser coming in the 82nd minute, the match looked set to go to extra time, which would give fans an extra half an hour of action and the charity more time to raise money. Ideal, right?

Not to Clarence.

He picked up the ball deep in his own half three minutes later and, clearly deciding his team-mates weren’t worthy after such a collapse, went solo.

He jinked past Jack Whitehall with ease before making his way towards the opposition box as John Bishop, the poor bastard, desperately tried and failed to chase him down, puffing his lungs out in the process.

Once there, he had a number of team-mates he could pass to. But Seedorf had absolutely zero interest in doing so and got into an ideal position before smacking the ball past Theakston for a second time.

After a rather impassioned celebration, it was immediately back to business as he began barking orders to his team-mates, in case it wasn’t already clear that he really, really wanted to win.

Such a victory was very much wrapped up by the 91st minute, with no more added time to come, but that didn’t stop him from adding insult to injury.

The Dutchman played the ball out wide before darting into the box and heading in a cross to complete his hat-trick and utterly merciless destruction of the English side.

With his performance, he had become Soccer Aid’s all-time top scorer and the first man ever to bag a hat-trick at the event.

More importantly, he clearly cheered himself up on what was a rough weekend for him, bowing in front of the Old Trafford crowd with a huge grin on his face when the full-time whistle was blown.

He’s been dealt a few more blows in his managerial career since then, being relieved of his duties by Shenzhen FC and Cameroon.

He didn’t lose either of those jobs on the weekend of Soccer Aid though.

For the sake of English B-listers everywhere, we pray he never does again.

By Finley Crebolder

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