Nicolò Zaniolo, the former Roma player who recently received a fine in a football betting case, has broken his silence in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. Zaniolo addressed the incident, shedding light on how he donated the fine amount for playing in an illegal casino to the Gaslini Hospital.
Expressing relief after the fine was settled through an ‘oblazione’ (alternative sanction), Zaniolo stated:
“Thanks to the donation, I feel better, of course. But I had already started feeling this way after the meeting with the prosecutor because the truth of what I had said had been established. I decided to donate it to Gaslini Hospital because I am from La Spezia, and if misfortune had targeted me, I could have been one of those children.”
Reflecting on the investigation, Zaniolo added, “It’s important that it’s all over, but it’s bad to be dragged into such a story without having done anything serious. Police at Coverciano? A nightmare, but I wasn’t afraid.”
Regarding his actions, the Aston Villa player clarified, “I only played casino games; I never placed bets. I made a mistake, nonetheless, but I didn’t know it was an illegal site. Why do we do this, in my opinion? Our lives are double-edged: we have money, but we often find ourselves alone. If we go to a restaurant or a venue, all eyes are on us. Perhaps there are people with phones ready to broadcast any foolish thing we say or do to the world. So, to pass the time, we sometimes gamble, that’s all. It might not be very intelligent, but it’s the truth.”
Looking ahead to his objectives and Aston Villa’s season, Zaniolo shared, “The Premier League? It would be a dream, like the Leicester style. Even reaching the Champions League would be a triumph; there are stronger clubs, but anything is possible.”