‘Shocked’ - Manager makes claim over Newcastle United & Aston Villa duo amid ongoing investigation

Italy manager Luciano Spalletti has responded to questions about Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo’s withdrawal from the national squad.
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On Thursday evening, Italy’s football federation (FIGC) confirmed that Tonali and aniolo had been removed from the squad and would be allowed to return to Newcastle and Aston Villa respectively.

The statement released by the Italian Football Federation, translated into English, reads: “The Federation has decided to allow the return of the players, also to protect them, to their respective clubs.

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“The Federation announces that, in the late afternoon of today, the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office notified investigation documents to the players Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo, currently in training with the national team at the Federal Technical Center in Coverciano.

“Regardless of the nature of the acts, believing that in this situation the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the commitments scheduled in the next few days, the Federation has decided, also to protect them, to allow them to return to their respective clubs.”

Ahead of Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England, Spalletti defended the decision to remove the duo from the squad

“It’s not nice to say who decided, it’s enough to say that it’s the correct decision,” Spalletti told Sky.

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"We can't bring two guys who have been shocked like that to play a game. Now let's think about playing, we lose two champions but we remain a very strong team."

"It was a difficult night, when you have to get results there is always anxiety, but this was a different night, with a lot of bitterness over what happened. The whole squad is close to Tonali and Zaniolo, we're very sorry for them.

"We will continue to be close to them even afterwards. For now, they have the spotlight on them.

"We must try to help them defend themselves, but it's also right that justice takes its course and if irregularities have occurred, then it will be right to pay."

Italy host Malta on Saturday evening before facing England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

With Tonali due back on Tyneside, The Gazette have approached Newcastle United for comment.