Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro urged Italian football to “reconsider the rules” after his six-month ban in the match-fixing trial was quashed on appeal.
The defender and teammate Gianluca Grava always maintained their innocence, but were suspended for ‘failing to alert the authorities to a potential fix.’ Those bans and Napoli’s two-point penalty were revoked a month later.
“We were the same players and trained with smiles on our faces, but before matchday it all became very sad for us,” Cannavaro told Radio Marte.
“I put up with far too much over the last few months. The important thing is that it was resolved. I honestly didn’t think this could happen to me. I shouted and nobody listened, the authorities ought to reconsider the rules.
“Gianluca and I emerged clean from this situation, as did the club. That is our greatest satisfaction. It could’ve been a huge blemish on our careers as well as a great injustice.
“I was at home when the appeal verdict came in and when I got the phone call I burst into tears of joy. I never considered a plea bargain, as I was not guilty and couldn’t admit to something that hadn’t happened.”
Cannavaro returns to the squad this weekend and jokes about those put forward for his position.
“Edinson Cavani captain? It makes me laugh! Every year the media says I’m supposed to give the armband to someone, as before it was Lavezzi, then Hamsik and now Cavani.
“The truth is it’s staying on my arm. Edi would deserve it, as he is a great professional, but I am a Neapolitan who grew up here supporting Napoli. Besides, it is the squad that decides who is captain.”