Tag Archives: salvatore

Valon Behrami robbed of watch gunpoint

Ex-Hammer Behrami robbed of 5,000 watch at gunpoint in latest theft

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UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 21 December 2012

Former West Ham star Valon Behrami has become the latest Napoli player targeted by criminals in what has become an alarming trend.

Swiss international Behrami, 27, who is being linked with return to the Premiership at Arsenal, was robbed at gunpoint by two men on a scooter of his 5,000 Hublot watch as he sat in his car.

Robbed: Valon Behrami (right) had his 5,000 watch stolen

Robbed: Valon Behrami (right) had his 5,000 watch stolen

Police said that midfielder, who only started at the Italian side this season, was singled out as he drove into the upmarket Chiaia area of the southern Italian port city which does have a seedy underbelly.

In the space of a year other players at the club have been the victims of crime including Edinson Cavani and Salvatore Aronica, while the wives of Esquiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik have also been robbed.

Spate: Napoli's Edinson Cavani has also been targeted

Spate: Napoli's Edinson Cavani has also been targeted

Several items taken from Cavani’s flat were later recovered after underworld bosses put out a ‘request’ for them to be returned but Lavezzi’s partner was so terrified after being robbed of her watch that it was used as a reason for him leaving the club and joining PSG.

A Naples police spokesman said:’ 'We are looking for two armed men who demanded that the victim hand over the watch, which he did and they then escaped on the scooter in heavy traffic. Mr Behrami was not hurt although he was shocked by what happened to him.’

Euro 2012: Gianluigi Buffon in video joke at press conference

Buffon: We'll watch a video tonight… but I don't think it will be about penalties

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UPDATED:

18:37 GMT, 22 June 2012

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has laughed off the prospect of a penalty shootout against England in Sunday's European Championship quarter-final.

The potential for this weekend's game to be decided on spot-kicks has been much-discussed in the build-up to the Kiev clash.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart revealed he had already studied videos of penalties taken by Italy's players as part of his preparations for the match.

Goalkeepers' union: Buffon (left) backed Joe Hart to be the No 1 stopper in the world

Goalkeepers' union: Buffon (left) backed Joe Hart to be the No 1 stopper in the world

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But when Buffon was asked at a press conference if he had followed suit, he appeared to insinuate jokingly that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a very different kind.

'We have not watched any videos,' Buffon said. 'We will watch a video tonight…' Buffon and understudy Salvatore Sirigu then burst out laughing, both struggling to compose themselves before the press conference resumed.

However, Buffon had earlier treated the subject with greater seriousness.

All smiles: Buffon joked that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a different kind

All smiles: Buffon joked that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a different kind

'For everyone involved, for the sake of our hearts, it would be better if we get the job done without having to resort to penalties,' he said.

'But if it does then we will just have to deal with it.'

Hart revealed Buffon, who has more than 100 caps, was one of his goalkeeping heroes and the Italian returned the compliment today.

Eye on the ball: Hart has been preparing for penalties ahead of England's showdown with Italy

Eye on the ball: Hart has been preparing for penalties ahead of England's showdown with Italy

'Together with [Manuel] Neuer and Sirigu, he can become the best goalkeeper in the world,' the 34-year-old said.

'The difference between a normal keeper and a great goalkeeper is the attention to detail, not to commit mistakes during one season.

'The maximum number of mistakes a keeper can commit is two or three.'

Hart is not the only player who could crush Italy's Euro 2012 dream on Sunday.

Threat: The Italian goalkeeper said the Azzurri would be wary of Rooney and Co

Threat: The Italian goalkeeper said the Azzurri would be wary of Rooney and Co

Buffon said: 'Wayne Rooney has charisma and is a leader, dragging the team along with him, while John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole are all players who know how to win.'

Terry and Cole helped Chelsea win the Champions League against all odds this season and Buffon drew parallels between the European club champions and England.

'Chelsea have played well in defence against Barcelona and Bayern Munich,' he said.

'Probably, Bayern and Barcelona are the stronger teams but Chelsea won the match.

Sign him up: Buffon is leading Italy at this summer's European Championships

Sign him up: Buffon is leading Italy at this summer's European Championships

'I think, in this way, we can find similarities between England and Chelsea.'

Buffon also acknowledged there were echoes of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning triumph in their current Euro 2012 campaign.

Just like six years ago, Italian football is currently mired in a match-fixing scandal. Buffon was personally implicated back in 2006 but was ultimately cleared, although his Juventus side were stripped of two Serie A titles.

Italy are also looking to salvage some pride on the field after their 2010 World Cup debacle.

The Azzurri did not even get out of the group and Buffon said: 'There are always some difficulties in Italian football, so we are used to dealing with these difficulties and we want to fight against them.

'It's always hard to have a clear picture without any doubts or problems.

'Our aim before this Euro was to do better than in 2010, and we wanted to surprise people during this competition.

'Our aim was to make our supporters proud of us, here in Poland and Ukraine and in Italy as well.'

England also endured a miserable World Cup and Buffon felt both sides 'want to recapture the prestige that has been lost in recent years'.

He added: 'I only ever faced England in two friendlies and we won both.

'I've never played them in an important match before. I hope there will be more occasions, but I above all hope we win this one.'

Euro 2012: Cesare Prandelli explains Domenico Criscito"s exclusion

No human could deal with the pressure! Italy coach Prandelli explains under-suspicion Criscito's exclusion from Euros squad

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UPDATED:

09:40 GMT, 29 May 2012

Italy have excluded defender Domenico Criscito from their Euro 2012 squad to let him clear his name after police investigations into an alleged match-fixing scandal.

The player, who prosecutors allege was photographed in a restaurant with match-fixing suspects while still a Genoa player in 2011, told reporters: 'I have nothing to do with this. I was only out for dinner with some Genoa fans.'

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Pressure: Cesare Prandelli (left) excluded Domenico Criscito (right) because the investigation and the Euros would have been too much to handle

Pressure: Cesare Prandelli (left) excluded Domenico Criscito (right) because the investigation and the Euros would have been too much to handle

Investigated: Domenico Criscito (right) at Italy training

Investigated: Domenico Criscito (right) at Italy training

Coach Cesare Prandelli was in the process of whittling his 32-man squad down to 25 when police arrived.

'I am not taking Criscito because he would have been under pressure which no human being can bear,' Prandelli said.

'The other reason is that he could have been summoned by the prosecutor at any moment, before a match.'

Prandelli also cut Emiliano Viviano, Marco Verratti, Davide Astori, Salvatore Bocchetti, Luca Cigarini and Ezequiel Schelotto from his Euro squad with two more names to follow before UEFA’s Tuesday midday deadline.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has also been linked to match-fixing in testimony from a probe in Bari, where he used to play, but is not under formal investigation and will go to the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

'I have talked with Bonucci, he has already been heard by prosecutors in Bari. He is calm and so are we,' Prandelli added.

No looking: Stefano Mauri hides his face from photographers

No looking: Stefano Mauri hides his face from photographers

'At the moment he has not received any communication. If Bonucci is OK, he will be in the list of 23 for the Euros.'

Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto were among 14 people arrested by police. Juventus coach Antonio Conte was also questioned.'

A police statement said they searched 30 homes of players, trainers and administrators of clubs in Serie A, Serie B and Lega Pro, on suspicion of involvement in match-fixing.

Police in the northern city of Cremona said they were investigating Conte, fresh from his triumph in leading Juventus to the Italian Serie A championship for the first time since the club was relegated in 2006 in an earlier match-fixing scandal.

'Conte's reaction is that of someone who's completely innocent and strongly determined to prove his total innocence,' Conte's lawyer, Antonio De Rencis, said.

Making their move: An Italian police car arrives at the Coverciano site center where the Italy national team are training

Making their move: An Italian police car arrives at the Coverciano site center where the Italy national team are training

Siena president Massimo Mezzaroma has also been placed under investigation.

Zenit St. Petersburg defender Criscito is also being investigated, a week before the national team leaves for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

Two police cars arrived at the national team's training site at around 6:25am local time (0425 GMT) and left more than two hours later. Criscito's house in Genoa was also searched.

Criscito, who did not take part in Italy's training session, has reportedly asked to be heard by the authorities as soon as possible.

Into custody: Mauri has been arrested

Into custody: Mauri has been arrested

Action has been taken against 19 people, 11 of whom are footballers or former footballers – 14 have been arrested, three have been placed under house arrest and two others are to present themselves to authorities.

'It's devastating news,' former Italy and current Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni told Gazzetta dello Sport. 'If the magistrates are doing something, it is because there is some truth in this.

'I, who have travelled abroad for some time, must say that we give an ugly image of our football.

'As an Italian, the first feeling is that we are mocked abroad, we are always linked to illicit dealings and are considered mafia members.

'This only damages us because I can claim to have paid the price for an attitude that affects everyone.'

He added: 'It's clear that certain stories provoke anger. But it could also give a push (to the team) to prove the clean face of football.'

Crackdown: Cremona prosecutor Roberto di Martino listens to Cremona police commissioner Antonio Bufano as they attend a news conference about a police operation which was part of 'Last Bet' an investigation into match-fixing in Italian football

Crackdown: Cremona prosecutor Roberto di Martino listens to Cremona police commissioner Antonio Bufano as they attend a news conference about a police operation which was part of 'Last Bet' an investigation into match-fixing in Italian football

Monday's operation was part of 'Last Bet', a wider investigation into match-fixing in Italian soccer which has already seen a number of arrests of current and former Italian players.

'In this part of the investigation, indications have emerged of manipulation in matches from the 2010-11 Serie A championship, including games between Lazio and Genoa and Lecce and Lazio,' Raffale Grassi, director of SCO, the police service responsible for the investigation told SkyTG24 television.

Five people have also been arrested in Hungary on suspicion of being part of an illegal international betting ring.

Mauri has been accused of sporting fraud. Most of the footballers accused now play in Serie B or lower leagues, although Omar Milanetto spent five years at Genoa before joining Padova in 2011.

Numerous others have had their houses searched, including Chievo Verona's Sergio Pellissier.

More than 50 people have now been arrested in Italy in the past year as part of the probe started by judicial authorities in Cremona.

Police action: Juventus' coach Antonio Conte is under investigation

Police action: Juventus' coach Antonio Conte is under investigation

Former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni was banned from football for three and a half years last summer, and former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori was also arrested.

Serie A clubs Atalanta, Novara and Siena were among the 22 Italian teams notified at the beginning of this month that they are being investigated by sports authorities.

Prosecutors in Cremona have detailed an extensive match-fixing ring stretching as far as Singapore and South America that was allegedly in operation for more than 10 years.

Italian Olympic Committee vice-president Luca Pancalli was equally saddened by the latest football scandal to rock the nation.

'The courage to speak must be there in order to put an end to this issue and to start again,' he said to Gazzetta.

'As a man of sport and as a citizen I feel infinite sadness. The sporting justice has other time limits with respect to the ordinary justice and it's clear that there will be (sporting) repercussions.'

Criscito's agent Andrea D'Amico insists his client is not concerned.

He said to Gazzetta dello Sport: 'I have spoken to Mimmo (Domenico) this morning and he is absolutely calm.

'Mimmo is ready to explain anything that may have caused him to be under the spotlight.

'Our legal team is working in order for the magistrates to listen to him as soon as possible.'

Under suspicion: Stefano Mauri (right) in action for Lazio

Under suspicion: Stefano Mauri (right) in action for Lazio

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini announced the former Genoa player will not go to Poland and Ukraine before Prandelli.

'Criscito will not be with us at the European Championship,' Albertini said in a press conference.

'He is in a hurry to end this current situation and that is his aim.

'He is disappointed to have caused this situation although he reiterates he has nothing to do with it.

Albertini added: 'We are disappointed but we have to remain close to the player.

'The decision not to include Criscito is a collective decision. The Federation has given Prandelli its support over this decision.

'Arrests have been made today but until proven otherwise, we are talking about innocent people even though they are considered suspects.

'I know Domenico and he is incredulous. He is an extraordinary guy and he has already seen his lawyers this morning.

'It is a strange day for us. These are things that we would not like to have had to go through.'

Video: Italian police release video of arrests in match-fixing scandal

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Alessandro Del Piero denied fairytale ending as Napoli sink Juventus in Italian Cup

Cavani and co deny Del Piero fairytale ending as Napoli sink Juve in Italian Cup

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UPDATED:

08:57 GMT, 21 May 2012

Napoli won their first major title since the Diego Maradona era, denied Serie A champions Juventus the double and handed Alessandro Del Piero an unhappy end to 19 seasons at the club by beating the Turin side 2-0 in the Italian Cup final on Sunday.

Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock with a penalty just after the hour and Marek Hamsik finished off a counter-attack as Napoli claimed their first trophy since the Maradona-inspired team won Serie A in 1989/90.

Juventus had substitute Fabio Quagliarella sent off in the 89th minute for a full-blooded elbow in the face of Salvatore Aronica after only 17 minutes on the pitch.

Bellissimo: Napoli celebrate winning the Italian Cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Rome

Bellissimo: Napoli celebrate winning the Italian Cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Rome

'This was a club that didn't exist, said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, a film-maker who refounded the club after it was declared bankrupt in 2004 and led it from Serie C back to the top flight.

'In a few years we've brought something home, above all the knowledge that Napoli exists, lives and can be the world champion of the sport.'

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said: 'It seemed unthinkable to beat Juve. They hadn't ever lost this season (in Serie A) and to beat them 2-0 was magnificent work. The team has done something extraordinary in the last three years: Cavani, (Ezequiel) Lavezzi, Hamsik are on everyone's lips, but it's an entire team that should be acclaimed as one.'

'This was the 51st game of the season. Anyone who plays football knows that playing these games at that level is hard. We have paid in the championship for this. You can lose to anyone in our league, and we dropped too many points.'

Arrivederci: Alessandro Del Piero missed out on a glorious farewell on his final Juve appearance

Arrivederci: Alessandro Del Piero missed out on a glorious farewell on his final Juve appearance

Our hero: Juventus fans paid tribute to departing legend Del Piero at the game

Our hero: Juventus fans paid tribute to departing legend Del Piero at the game

Although Juventus had completed their 38-match campaign in Serie A without losing, there was some debate over their 2-2 Italian Cup draw after extra time against AC Milan in their semi-final second leg. Milan claimed that, as they were winning 2-1 at the end of 90 minutes, that should count as a Juventus defeat.

Del Piero, 37, was told earlier this season that his contract at Juventus would not be renewed and the talismanic forward was given a standing ovation when he was substituted midway through the second half.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte kept to his regular cup line-up with Marco Storari in goal instead of Gianluigi Buffon and a starting role for Del Piero, who has been used mainly as a substitute in Serie A.

Back of the net: Edinson Cavani (second right) slots home from the penalty spot

Back of the net: Edinson Cavani (second right) slots home from the penalty spot

Napoli, who finished fifth in Serie A and missed out on the Champions League by three points, were quickly on the attack as Hugo Campagnaro burst down the right and crossed for Juan Camilo Zuniga whose header was turned away by Marco Storari. Lavezzi shot wide on the counter-attack while a fierce effort from Zuniga was charged down by Leonardo Bonucci.

Juventus had a penalty appeal turned down just before halftime when Claudio Marchisio claimed to have been felled by Aronica.

Napoli continued to push forward after the break and won a penalty when Lavezzi was upended by Storari and Uruguay forward Cavani sent the Juve goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Hair-raising: Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik celebrates after scoring the second goal

Hair-raising: Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik celebrates after scoring the second goal

Juventus, who had devoted much of their energy to protesting refereeing decisions, suddenly started playing and enjoyed their best spell of the match, forcing Morgan De Sanctis to make two excellent saves.

The Napoli goalkeeper did well to punch away Bonucci's volley then somehow saved Simone Pepe's deflected shot with his feet.

Napoli made the game safe when Goran Pandev broke from the halfway line and slipped the ball to Slovakia forward Hamsek who fired past Storari.

David Beckham not spotted as Paris St Germain draw with Lille

No Beckham and no win for PSG as French giants fail to take top spot

Paris St Germain suffered a double blow on Sunday as they missed the chance to move to the top Ligue 1 – and David Beckham wasn”t there to watch them.

Beckham has been strongly linked with a move to the French capital and it was expected that he would attend the 0-0 draw with Lille at the Parc des Princes, but he was not spotted in a packed and expectant crowd.

The result left PSG in second place with 37 points from 18 games, behind Montpellier on goal difference after the leaders drew 1-1 at home with Toulouse on Saturday.

Missing out: Paris

Missing out: Paris” Javier Pastore trudges off the pitch

Lille – for whom Joe Cole played – are unbeaten away from home in the league this season and have not lost in their last 17 games, leaving them in third on 35 points.

PSG, who had an opportunity to leapfrog Montpellier in the table, lacked creativity and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was forced to tip a fierce Florent Balmont blast over the bar in the 15th minute.

Antoine Kombouare”s side came close five minutes later when Javier Pastore crossed to Kevin Gameiro, whose right-footed attempt went just wide.

English connection: Joe Cole (left) played for Lille

English connection: Joe Cole (left) played for Lille

Matt Fortune

Lille had the best chance in the 77th minute when Idrissa Gueye”s powerful shot was punched clear by Sirigu with Rudi Garcia”s team dominating possession.

Kombouare replaced Pastore and Gameiro with Sylvain Armand and Guillaume Hoarau in a late attempt to snatch all three points but the Lille defence kept their composure.

Beckham is expected to sign an 18-month deal with the Qatari-owned club.