It makes the Arsenal defender's controversial shirt (non) swap all the more baffling.
Already under fire for his poor play, Santos now faces the ire of Arsenal fans and rule sticklers everywhere. At halftime of Saturday's Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester United, Santos chased down van Persie as he was making his way to the tunnel. The Brazilian shook hands with the red-hot striker. He then requested and gratefully accepted his former teammate's jersey.
The jersey exchange is a time-honored tradition in soccer, but the golden rule is that it takes place between foes-turned-friends after the game. What makes matters worse is that Arsenal was losing (courtesy of an early van Persie goal), having shown little fighting spirit during a limp first-half performance.
It's unknown how Santos' current teammates responded to the jersey faux-pas, but Arsenal fans were predictably outraged by it. Driving how he wants created a soft spot in their hearts for the 29-year-old. Breaking one of the game's unwritten rules threatens to erase much of that goodwill.
Watch Santos take van Persie's jersey in the video below.
Photo via Twitter/@TrueRedDevils