Air rage leaves Ricksen facing Rangers exit

GLASGOW: Fernando Ricksen’s Rangers career is hanging in the balance after the Dutch midfielder was sent home in disgrace from a pre-season training camp in South Africa. 

New Ibrox boss Paul Le Guen ordered the self-styled hard man back to Scotland over what the club termed “inappropriate behaviour” on the flight to Johannesburg. 

According to reporters on the plane, Ricksen was involved in an alcohol-fuelled altercation with a stewardess. 

Ricksen has been involved in a number of boozy bust-ups in his time in Glasgow and Le Guen made it clear he will not tolerate that kind of behaviour as he seeks to repeat the success he enjoyed with Lyon in France. 

The Frenchman warned: “Fernando Ricksen’s behaviour was wholly inappropriate and unacceptable for the way in which I have asked my players to conduct themselves. 

“Therefore Fernando will not carry out pre-season training with the squad in South Africa.” 

Ricksen is under contract with Rangers until 2009 but Le Guen, who has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, could look to offload him before the start of the new Scottish Premier League season at the end of this month. 

The Dutchman was Rangers’ Player of the Year in the 2004-05 title winning campaign but he sat out much of last season with a stomach muscle injury as the Ibrox giants were left trailing behind Celtic and Hearts in the league. 

Le Guen may be persuaded to give Ricksen, 29, one last chance given that the player has recently been under stress following the break-up of his marriage to wife Graciela. 

While Rangers are in South Africa, giant Danish striker Ole Budtz will be undergoing a trial at the club’s Murray Park training complex. 

Le Guen is also considering a bid for Italian international Marco di Vaio, who is available from Valencia for around £4mil after spending last season on loan at Monaco. – AFP