Ex-Roma stars apologise for Liverpool badge gesture at Anfield
Former Roma players Roberto Pruzzo and Bruno Conti have apologised after being photographed making an obscene gesture to the Liverpool badge before the Champions League semifinal first leg at Anfield on Tuesday.
Pruzzo and Conti, members of the Roma side beaten by Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup final, were at the stadium to see their old club lose 5-2.
Conti was part of the official Roma delegation in his role as head of the youth academy, while Pruzzo was a guest of Italian broadcaster Mediaset.
They posed for a picture which Pruzzo's daughter posted on social media, leading to an apology from the Roma Hall of Fame members.
"We took that photo to exorcise the ghost [of 1984] for a bit of fun," Pruzzo told Radio Radio.
"If we offended anybody, we would like to apologise. The smile on our faces shows everything about our good intentions."
Conti told ANSA the photograph had been "a moment of private banter."
He said: "It was made public without any of us knowing about it, turning it into an inopportune gesture for which I feel I need to apologise.
"I've been involved in football all my life and I've spent the past 25 years trying to transmit my values to all the lads I've found myself working with, and that starts with respect for your opponents.
"I would never offend any club, certainly not such a glorious one as Liverpool. There can be no doubting that I hold in great respect opponents whom I have faced over the years with honesty."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.