Dinamo Bucharest’s Valentin Nastase has been accused by a Romanian daily, Fanatic, of having been paid by Lazio Rome to cause a penalty in favour of the Italians in their recent Champions’ League preliminary tie.
The penalty early in the second half enabled Lazio to draw level and start a turnaround on the way to a 3-1 away win.
While the Italians qualified with a 4-2 aggregate score, Nastase has to defend himself.
“I am being massacred from all sides. I have sent a note of denial to all Romanian newspapers, but they don’t want to print it. I have sued the paper that published the lie. I’m not interested in money, only in truth and an apology,” said the former Genoa, Palermo, Bologna and Ascoli player.
Curiously, last season while playing in Ascoli, Nastase also gave away a penalty in Lazio’s favour!
Coco from Inter to Hollywood!
The former Italian international Francesco Coco has quit football aged only 30 in order to pursue an acting career!
One of the most handsome Italian players rescinded his contract with Internazionale, which was due to run until July 2009, convinced he could achieve significant success on the acting stage in Poker Online. “I have received important offers from US film companies. I would like to make my second dream come true, because my soccer dream has already become reality,” Coco told the ANSA agency.
It looks as though Coco has played his last games last season in Torino on loan from Inter.
“I have been contemplating this for a long time. This decision is a well thought-out one. I left the doors to soccer open this summer, but in the meantime I realized it was the moment to take a different direction.”
The former wing-back for Milan, Torino, Livorno and Barcelona has lately been appearing in the news more due to his amorous conquests of beauties Manuela Arcuri and Francesca Lodo.
Benfica aim at 200,000 members
The most popular Portuguese club, Benfica, are the world record holders in the number of registered members with 170,000 card holders. Still, the Eagles aim to soar to even greater hights.
“Our next goal is 200,000 members. We plan to reach this mark by the end of the season, and we believe it will be done if we win the League title,” said marketing director Miguel Bento.
Benfica have members in 48 countries, and over the last three years it has increased club membership by 75,000.
“By the end of 2005/06 we had 150,000, and last spring 160,000, when we entered the Guinness Book of Records,” added Bento.
Benfica have won 31 League titles, 24 FA Cups and two Champions’ Cups.
Ramos forgiven a yellow card over Puerta
The Competition Committee of the Spanish FA rescinded the yellow card Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos received against Villarreal for the offence of taking his shirt off.
The pardon was given because under the team shirt Ramos wore another with the inscription, “Puerta, brother, rest in peace, we shall not forget you.”
“It was a sincere hommage to the late Antonio Puerta, which gave us the right to cancel this yellow card,” explained the Committee.
Ramos was admonished in the 50th minute while celebrating Van Nistelrooy’s goal in Real’s 5-0 win.
Afonso refuses to be “a slave”
The Brazilian Afonso Alves, who last season scored 34 goals for Heerenveen, as many as Eduardo da Silva at Dinamo Zagreb, claims he is a “slave” in Holland and an object of “racist harrassment”.
“Much is been said about slavery in Brazil. These accusations are, alas, true. But, even in some parts of the liberal Netherlands there flourish slave-owning organizations while the 21st century is well underway,” wrote the international on his web site.
This could be read as an allusion to his team, Heerenveen, which do not want to release Afonso to a bigger club, in spite of alluring offers, like one from Premier League Middlesbrough.
“The board members are shortsighted amateurs, who turned down the offers,” claims Afonso.
The player did not apear at the Dutch League best player award-giving ceremony because of racist insults he had suffered.
“Some Heerenveen fans, blinded by Nazi illusions, have been calling me an ape,” added the Brazilian.
Argentinian police arrest 127 fans
The police in Buenos Aires has detained 127 River Plate fans, including the leader of the ultra group “Borrachos del tablón” (Drunkards from the terrace), while they were on the premises of their club. The arrests were made in order to prevent a fight between the Drunkards and rival fan groups. The motive of the agreed fight among various River fan groups was over control of gathering spaces and bars in the vicinty of River’s Monumental stadium.
Ronaldo target of antidoping agency
The therapy Ronaldo received in Brazil for his left thigh injury has concerned the Italian Antidoping Commission.
The therapy in question is the “growth factor technique” consisting of extracting protein from the patient’s blood and injecting the purified blood in to the injured spot.
Unfortunately. the World Antidoping Agency (WADA) has not pronounced yet regarding the therapy so the Italians have not approved it either.
The chairman of the Antidoping Commission, Ettore Torri, has asked the doctors of the Italian Olympic Committee for an opinion, and they replied that the growth factor technique was in fact a form of doping.
“We consider doping to be whatever can help an athlete to improve his or her performance,” said Luigi Frati of the Italian Olympic Committee.
The injured Brazilian is not expected to return to fitness before mid October.