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06 June 2023

Disgraced Doni a ‘destroyed man’, says lawyer

Cristiano Doni of Atalanta BC was banned for three-and-a-half years. (FILE).

By Reuters

Former Atalanta captain and Italy midfielder Cristiano Doni is a destroyed man after being banned and arrested for match-fixing, his lawyer said on Wednesday. 

Doni, 38, was banned for three-and-a-half years in August for his part in the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal involving Serie B matches last season and was among 17 people arrested in December over the case. 

“Doni is a man whose whole existence has been destroyed and finished because he was captain of Atalanta, he was the symbol, and now he’s lost the essence of his life,” lawyer Salvatore Pino told reporters. 

“He just wanted above all to win for Atalanta,” added Pino, speaking after Doni had been interviewed by the public prosecutor in Cremona who is investigating the case. 

“He wanted to make it clear that he’s not a corrupt player, he has never sold a match and he has always played to win.” 

Pino said that Doni, who spent five days in jail and is currently under house arrest, had known that last season’s Atalanta-Piacenza game had been rigged and had done nothing to stop it. 

“That was the wrong step he took,” Pino said. Atalanta, promoted at the end of last season, won that game 3-0. 

Atalanta were deducted six points for this season’s Serie A but are still 13th in the table with 20 points. 

Doni, who has been at Atalanta since 2006, played seven matches for Italy, including two at the 2002 World Cup. He also had a previous spell at the Bergamo club from 1998-2003, playing for Sampdoria and Real Mallorca in between. 

Italy has only just got over a previous match-fixing scandal which led to Juventus being demoted from the top flight in 2006 and stripped of two league titles.