Banned Nicolo Fagioli says thugs threatened to break legs as gambling debts spiralled and he begged team-mates for cash | The Sun
18th October 2023

JUVENTUS midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has told the Italian Football Federation that he was threatened by the owners of illegal betting platforms.

Fagioli, 22, was handed a seven-month ban by the FIGC prosecutor earlier this week after being found guilty of betting on illegal platforms.

The Italy international reported himself to the prosecutor after being put under investigation earlier this year.

He recently admitted that he faced serious threats from the owners of some betting platforms, meaning he had to borrow money from some team-mates in order to pay off debts.

Fagioli also opened up about how the pressure got to him during a Juventus match in April.

As stated in the documents obtained by Tuttosport and La Gazzetta dello Sport, the midfielder said: "At night, I had stopped sleeping. The more time passed, the more debts haunted me.

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"My debts kept increasing and I was gambling just to try to make up.

"They told me ‘We’ll break your legs.’ I had so much debt that even if I had won, I would get nothing out of it."

Fagioli insisted that he never gambled on either of the two clubs he has played for – Cremonese and Juventus.

He added: "Juventus have been warning us since the youth sector that we footballers should have not placed any bets, whether using legal or illegal platforms.

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"I gambled on national and international matches but never on Cremonese or Juventus.

"I used to gamble on games that were underway. I gambled on Milan’s win that time but lost because Torino won 2-1.

"I had accumulated a debt of €250,000 in September 2022 and pressure from managers of illegal platforms started.

"Sometimes, I would cover part of the debt by going to Milan and buying luxury watches. I paid with a bank transfer.

"Sometimes I delivered the watches myself, other times, the platforms’ owners picked them up at the jewellery shop.

"After September 2022, I started gambling compulsively in front of the TV on any sporting event I watched, including football, Serie B and Lega Pro. I can’t even remember how many events I placed bets on.

"I’ve never spoken about gambling with directors, footballers or people under contract at Juventus because I trusted nobody.

"I borrowed money from some of my teammates, saying I wanted to buy a watch for my mum. [Federico] Gatti gave me €40,000 and I still have to return it. [Radu] Dragusin also gave me money and some of my friends in Piacenza too. Still €40,000, through bank transfers.

"I want to clarify that my friends and teammates did not know the reason why I borrowed the money."

The Italian then revealed that he reached a breaking point during a Serie A match between Sassuolo and Juventus in April, when he broke down in tears on the bench after being substituted.

Fagioli said: "The worst moment was between April and March 2023, when I was so scared that I made a mistake during Sassuolo-Juventus and I was subbed off.

"I started crying when I sat on the bench, thinking about my debts and betting problems."

Fagioli's Italy team-mates Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo could also face lengthy bans if found guilty of breaching betting regulations.

The pair were questioned by police in Italy while with the national team last week.

Zaniolo, 24, is alleged to have placed bets on matches involving his former club Roma, where he played under Jose Mourinho before joining Galatasaray in February.

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And Tonali, 23, reportedly admitted to betting on AC Milan matches while playing for the club.

The Newcastle midfielder's agent, Giuseppe Riso, has since confirmed that his client is seeking help for a gambling addiction.

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