Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning forward Vincenzo Iaquinta is jailed
A member of the Italy side who won the 2006 World Cup has been jailed for two years for possessing firearms as part of a huge mafia trial.
Vincenzo Iaquinta, who was found to own two guns and 126 bullets, and his father Giuseppe were both sentenced to prison at a court in Reggio Emilia yesterday.
The complex case has seen 148 people put on trial over alleged connections to ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia group based in Calabria, southern Italy.
The former Juventus player, 38, furiously denied links to ‘Ndrangheta and has vowed to appeal, saying his ‘life had been ruined when I didn’t do anything’.
Culprit: Vincenzo Iaquinta, pictured after scoring for Italy at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, has been jailed in a mafia trial after he was was found to own two guns and 126 bullets
After the sentencing he said: ‘I’ve been suffering like a dog for four years, as have my family and my children, when I haven’t even done anything.
‘In our family we don’t even know what the ‘Ndrangheta is, they’ve ruined my life for nothing.
‘They found me guilty because I’m Calabrian, but I won a World Cup. Justice will be done for us, today a sentence was handed down without a trial.’
Iaquinta was found guilty of a firearms offence after he was found to own a a Smith & Wesson 357 magnum caliber revolver, a 7.65 Browning Kelt-tec gun and 126 bullets, Football Italia reported.
Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence for the 38-year-old former footballer, who was part of for holding firearms and for alleged links with the organised crime group .
Judges ruled Iaquinta himself was not involved with the ‘Ndrangheta but his father Giuseppe did have mafia links. His father was jailed for 19 years.
Iaquinta’s father had been banned from possessing firearms over his mafia links but the ex-player gave him the weapons without telling officials, the court heard.
As the sentences were handed down the father and son, from Calabria, shouted: ‘Ridiculous, shame’.
Happier times: Iaquinta, left, is pictured with Italy team-mates Fabio Cannavaro (second left), Filippo Inzaghi and Fabio Grosso after their World Cup win against France in 2006
Lawyers for the pair said they would appeal against the ruling, while Iaquinta strongly protested his innocence.
More than 120 other defendants were also found guilty in the case, which was the biggest ever trial targeting the ‘Ndrangheta.
Earlier this year he said: ‘I bought the guns for the future more than anything else, when I’d stopped playing. I liked to go to the shooting range when I was at home.’
Iaquinta represented Italy 40 times, scoring six goals, and spent most of his playing career with Udinese before joining Juventus in 2007.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany he played in five of Italy’s seven games, including the final in Berlin, and scored in a group match against Ghana.
He spent six years with the Turin club before calling time on his playing career in 2014.