Illegal gambler Fagioli returns to Juventus after long suspension

Nicolò Fagioli returns to Juventus' match squad on Monday for the battle for third place against Bologna. The 23-year-old midfielder has served his suspension for illegal gambling.

Illegal gambler Fagioli returns to Juventus after long suspension
Photo Source: Getty Images

Fagioli has earned a spot in the 25-man squad selected by interim coach Paolo Montero, who is leading the team for the remaining two league matches after Massimiliano Allegri was dismissed last week due to inappropriate behavior.

In Bologna, Fagioli can make his seventh Serie A appearance of the season. Last week, he already celebrated the cup victory at Stadio Olimpico (photo above).

His season came to an abrupt halt in October when he was suspended for twelve months (with seven months suspended) for betting on football matches, which is prohibited. Besides his suspension, Fagioli was required to undergo six months of therapy and give ten public talks about his addiction. Meanwhile, Juventus extended his contract by two years until 2028, showing their faith in his potential and commitment to his rehabilitation.

In a hearing, Fagioli stated that Sandro Tonali, who is also suspended, pointed him to illegal gambling platforms, where he "systematically" placed bets on matches for a year. He did not bet on his own team's matches, unlike Tonali, who did so during his time at AC Milan. According to Fagioli, he accumulated a gambling debt of 2.7 million euros during that time. This significant financial burden highlighted the severity of his gambling addiction and the need for serious intervention.

The fallout from his suspension has been significant not only for Fagioli but also for Juventus, who have had to navigate the remainder of the season without one of their key midfield talents. The club's decision to extend his contract indicates their belief in his ability to overcome this challenging period and return to form.

Fagioli’s journey through this tumultuous time has been closely watched by fans and analysts alike, who are eager to see how he reintegrates into the team. His return to the squad marks a critical step in his recovery process, both professionally and personally. The support from Juventus, coupled with the mandatory therapy and public talks, has been designed to help him address his addiction and prevent future relapses.

As Juventus continues to push for a strong finish in the league, Fagioli’s presence could provide a much-needed boost. His creative flair and technical skills are invaluable assets on the pitch. The team’s performance in the final matches will be crucial for securing a favorable position in the standings, and Fagioli’s contribution will be closely scrutinized.

The broader implications of his suspension and subsequent return also highlight the ongoing issues of gambling in sports. Fagioli’s case has sparked discussions about the pressures athletes face and the importance of mental health and support systems within professional sports environments. His story serves as a cautionary tale and underscores the need for comprehensive measures to address gambling addictions among athletes.

In the coming weeks, all eyes will be on Fagioli as he steps back onto the field, aiming to rebuild his career and repay the faith shown in him by Juventus. His ability to overcome adversity and return to top form will be a testament to his resilience and determination.