Sunday September 8 2019
Zaniolo's mother accepts Italy punishment

Nicolò Zaniolo’s mother assures he is “very happy at Roma,” she sees Italy Coach Roberto Mancini as a footballing co-parent and shrugs off Lazio insults.

The midfielder just turned 20 a few weeks ago and had been part of the senior Azzurri squad, but was demoted to the Under-21 side with Moise Kean for unprofessional behaviour during the European U21 Championship.

“All I know is that they were late to a team meeting before the game, I don’t know if there was anything else that they haven’t told me about,” Francesca Costa told the Corriere dello Sport.

“If Mancini or other figures within the Federation sanctioned him, there must be a reason. I don’t stick my nose in these matters, just as I wouldn’t accept – as a mother – someone criticising punishment I chose for my son.”

Zaniolo hit the headlines earlier this year for complaining about his mother’s social media presence and selfie habit, which even saw her insulted by Lazio ultras during the 1-1 Rome Derby draw.

“We had a good laugh about it, there’s no drama. I was with my husband Igor (a former player) in the stands. Even afterwards, we joked around with Nicolò. I was only a little disappointed for my other daughter, Benedetta, as she is still an adolescent and could’ve been hurt by it, but fortunately she too realised it was nothing to get upset about.

“If Nicolò was able to ignore it and focus on his football during the derby, then it’ll be easy if it ever happens again. The opposition fans want to disturb him with these childish methods, but it won’t work.

“Fame and fortune has not changed him at all. It’s not easy for a teenager to go from anonymity to the front pages, but we’ve been there for him to help the maturation process.”

Zaniolo extended his contract with Roma, despite interest from clubs both within Italy and abroad.

“I don’t even know if there were genuine negotiations or offers over the summer, as that is not my area of expertise. I just know that now Nicolò is very happy to play for Roma.”

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