Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte had a pre-match news conference interrupted in bizarre circumstances when he was presented with a Manchester United shirt featuring his own name on the back and signed by arch rival Jose Mourinho.
The stunt was the work of presenters Stefano Corti and Alessandro Onnis from Italian satirical programme Le Iene.
Last month the duo conned United boss Mourinho – who had been involved in a prolonged row with Conte – into signing a replica shirt with the former Italy coach’s name and the number one on the back.
On Thursday, with Conte addressing the assembled media ahead of the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Hull City, Corti turned up to show off his handiwork.
The prankster approached Conte’s desk and played a video message on a tablet, with the screen not visible to the rest of the room, before presenting the Chelsea boss with his dubious gift.
The message on the video, spoken predominantly in Italian, said: “Antonio, we sent you a messenger. A present for you from your brand new friend, Jose Mourinho!
“He told us he loves you. Look at what he has written on the present he sent out for you: ‘Your friend, Jose.’
“Can you promise us that next time you play against him you will share a sign of peace? Come on, Antonio…you will be friends forever!”
Conte chuckled, stating he had “nothing” to say in response, before Corti added: “This is a present for you. It is signed by Jose Mourinho – ‘To my friend Antonio’. Long live friendship… shall I leave it to you?”
The coach was hardly interested, however, as he told Corti: “No, you can take it with you. Keep it, you will give it to me later.”
The club’s press officer told the presenter to wrap the scene up so the conference could continue in a more conventional manner.
Chelsea travel to face United at Old Trafford in the Premier League next weekend in the first meeting between the clubs since Mourinho and Conte became embroiled in a bitter war of words last month.