Gennaro Gattuso has been placed under investigation for match-fixing in Italy.
The former Italian international and retired Lazio player Cristian Brocchi had their homes searched on Tuesday and will reportedly face charges of criminal conspiracy and sports fraud.
The allegations are that Gattuso and Brocchi played a part in a ring that fixed Serie A and other Italian matches during the 2010-11 season. At that time Gattuso was playing in his 12th season at AC Milan.
“Gennaro is stunned by the news,” his agent Andrea D’Amico told the Press Association. “I spoke to him and he is returning home (to Milan). We are remaining calm and we have to be patient and see how the investigation develops.
“However, just because he is under investigation does not mean anything, for all we know this could be just false allegations. Sometimes when you are a famous player, it is very easy for your name to appear and to be a target. We will wait and see how the situation develops.”
The match-fixing ring allegedly extends from Singapore to Italy to South America and has been in operation for more than 10 years. Since 2011, more than 50 people have been arrested for match-fixing in Italy with a number of lengthy bans handed out to players including former Lazio captains Giuseppe Signori and Stefano Mauri, as well as former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni.
No stranger to controversy on the pitch, since retiring as a player in 2012-13 Gattuso has continued to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In February 2013 he was named manager of Swiss side Sion, with whom he ended his playing career. Three months later, Sion sacked the Italian after a poor run of results. The 35-year-old was subsequently hired by Serie B side Palermo last fall but was sacked after just six weeks into the season.
Two weeks ago Gattuso made the back pages when he said he couldn’t see a place for women in soccer: “I can’t really see women in football. I don’t like to say it but that’s how it is.” That comment was made after Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani agreed to share his role with Barbara Berlusconi, the daughter of club president Silvio.