Gravesen benched and burned

Real Madrid's midfielder Thomas Gravesen finds himself hung out to dry by the Spanish press after tangling with forward Robinho on the practice pitch

Football midfielder Thomas Gravesen's infamous temper boiled over during Real Madrid's practice session on Wednesday.

Photographers on hand at the Spanish team's training camp in Austria captured Gravesen go after forward Robinho of Brazil, whose 60 kg featherweight frame proved no match for Gravesen's husky 83 kg.

Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello sent both players to the locker room.

The episode marked the second time the 30-year-old Gravesen had tangled with fellow players on his team and highlighted the unhappy state of affairs for Gravesen after more than a year at the royal Madrid team.

Initially the Danish player found support among fans and earned the nickname 'Shrek' due to his bald scalp and protruding ears. Since then, fortune's wheel has turned for the aggressive midfielder, with one journalist calling him 'a catastrophic earthquake' on the playing field.

Manager Capello has publicly announced Gravesen plays little role in his strategy and said he would receive little playing time in the coming season.

Gravesen's agent, John Sivebæk, admitted the prospects of a long-term future at Real seemed unlikely, but that he had yet to find a new team for his player.

'Thomas is happy enough about being in Real Madrid, but the whole situation in the club can of course force him to leave,' Sivebæk told daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.

Gravesen's latest troubles brought a furrowed brow to Morten Olsen, the manager of the Denmark's national team. Although the recent World Cup qualifiers saw Gravesen's level of play unsteady, Olsen emphasised that Gravesen continues to play an important role for the team.

'Thomas Gravesen needs to play football. He loves to play football and he loves to play for the national team, so he shouldn't sit on the bench,' said Olsen, who shrugged off Gravesen's latest PR stunt as a serious issue.

'That kind of thing happens in every club. Every manager wants his players to show healthy aggressiveness - during practice, too. Some times it boils over though.'

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