Napoli fan arrested after life-saving operation

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Football fans await the start of the Italian Tim Cup final football match between Fiorentina and Napoli on Saturday. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
11:11 CEST+02:00
A 30-year-old Napoli fan, who was shot outside Rome’s Olympic Stadium ahead of a football match on Saturday night, was arrested shortly after having a life-saving operation.

Ciro Esposito is accused of fighting and provoking Daniele De Santis, a well-known hardline ‘ultra’, who allegedly responded by shooting him and two other Napoli supporters, Il Mattino reported.

Esposito is reported to have been arrested on Sunday after having an operation at Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli hospital to remove a bullet that was lodged dangerously close to his spine.

His mother Antonella Leardi said she was “horrified” to think her son was being treated as a criminal and has asked for financial support in paying for a lawyer.

“If someone has a little heart, we will send a lawyer to protect my son because we are not financially capable,” she was quoted in La Repubblica as saying.

Meanwhile, De Santis, 48, was charged with attempted murder on Sunday. Police said he “acted alone”, with earlier reports saying that De Santis, nicknamed Gastone, provoked the Napoli supporters using smoke bombs. When they reacted badly, he is said to have pulled out a gun and started shooting.

De Santis is from the hardline ‘Ultras’, an organized group which is responsible for much of the violence that blights football in Italy.

The incident happened ahead of the Italian Cup final between Fiorentina and Napoli.

"These incidents are simply unacceptable," Maurizio Beretta, the president of Lega Serie A which also organises the Cup competition, said on Saturday.

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The game, which started 45 minutes late, was won 3-1 by Napoli.

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