Italian footballer banned for blasphemy

Italian international Rolando Mandragora has been banned for one Serie A game after making "blasphemous remarks" during his team Udinese's 1-0 win over Sampdoria at the weekend.

The 21-year-old midfielder was caught on television shouting an insult to the Virgin Mary, while also referring to God as a dog.

The 21-year-old's "blasphemous expressions" went unnoticed by officials during the match,
leading to a review by the Lega Serie A.

The Italian FA said Mandragora was "clearly seen ... to make blasphemous remarks, visibly identifiable from reading his lips without any margin for reasonable doubt."

They acknowledged the Italian international was "cursing without addressing any of those present".

In Italy, blasphemy is considered among the worst forms of swearing and the former Juventus midfielder will miss next Sunday's Serie A game against Fiorentina, the Lega Serie A confirmed.

"Mandragora is a good person, the most he deserved was a warning," said Udinese coach Daniele Prade.

Mandragora -- who won the Serie A and Italian Cup with Juventus in 2017 -- spent last season on loan to Crotone before signing for Udinese last month.

The player from Naples has one cap for Italy after earning his first call-up under new national coach Roberto Mancini during a friendly loss to France last June.


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