Football

Published: Tuesday February 4, 2014 MYT 5:42:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday February 4, 2014 MYT 5:42:10 AM

Lazio president says has received over 50 death threats

S.S. Lazio's Stefano Mauri (L) and President Claudio Lotito kiss the Italian Cup trophy as they celebrate winning the Italian Cup final soccer match against AS Roma at the Olympic stadium in Rome May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

S.S. Lazio's Stefano Mauri (L) and President Claudio Lotito kiss the Italian Cup trophy as they celebrate winning the Italian Cup final soccer match against AS Roma at the Olympic stadium in Rome May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

(Reuters) - Lazio president Claudio Lotito has received more than 50 death threats since the club sold midfielder Hernanes to Inter Milan at the end of the January transfer window, he said on Monday.

"Yesterday, I received between 50 to 70 to 80 telephone calls from pseudo-fans, in which they asked me to leave Lazio and made death threats against me," he told reporters.

"I live under escort," he added. "The supporters are part of the club but now they have overstepped the mark."

During the news conference, Lotito took a phone call which he said was from another angry Lazio supporter.

"Who's there?" he said as he answered the call. "It's a Lazio supporter," he said, turning to the audience and holding up the phone. "He says I should leave Lazio, as soon as possible."

"Why don't you say who is calling?" he said to the caller who then hung up.

Lotito was also reported to have received death threats in September after the club failed to sign Turkish forward Burak Yilmaz from Galatasaray.

Lotito said there was nothing Lazio could have done to hold on to Brazil's Hernanes, a gifted but inconsistent midfielder.

"It was Hernanes' decision to leave, so what could I do? He had an agreement with Inter. If he had stayed, he would have been unhappy.

"He would have stayed here unhappy until June, then gone off to the World Cup, then come back for a few months and left on a free transfer.

"If you want to leave, you've got to say so."

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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