Sunday August 12 2012
Bonucci: 'Nightmare is over'

Leonardo Bonucci went from facing a three-and-a-half-year ban to winning the Italian Super Cup in the space of 24 hours. “I knew I was innocent.”

The Juventus defender risked a lengthy ban in the betting trial due to his time at Bari, but was cleared of sporting fraud on Friday when the testimony of Andrea Masiello was considered to be untrustworthy.

“It has been a very dramatic time for me. It all went well, both on the field and off it,” he said after Saturday’s 4-2 extra time win over Napoli in Beijing.

“I went from being cleared to starting the Super Cup game and winning it. This must surely be just the start of a long and tiring season.

“The most difficult thing was facing up to an obsolete sporting justice system. I never thought it would end badly, because I knew I was innocent.

“My conscience was clear and I always worked hard, thinking about the Super Cup we had to win. And we did it.”

Simone Pepe also risked a ban of a year, but was also cleared of failing to alert authorities to a potential fix.

“I immediately went to find Simone, who shared this nightmare with me. I embraced him and all our teammates. Now we hope Antonio Conte’s situation can end well too.”

Bonucci was asked why former Bari teammate Masiello had pointed the finger at so many players when his testimony was considered unsafe due to numerous contradictions and changes.

“I don’t know why he did that. Maybe it was just jealousy. Now it’s a closed chapter and I am looking ahead to football that is played on the field.”

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