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Jan 18, 2013

Cannavaro: I spent a "month in hell"

Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro has discussed the "month in hell" he suffered while facing a suspension over match-fixing allegations.

Cannavaro, along with Gianluca Grava, had been banned for six months for allegedly failing to report a game that third-choice goalkeeper Matteo Gianello attempted to fix back in May 2010.

However, Napoli won their appeal at the Federal Court on Thursday, allowing Cannavaro and Grava to make an immediate return to action.

"I feel immense joy and am still crying as I am so moved. It has been a terrible time, a month in hell," Cannavaro told SSCNapoli.it. "Now I feel liberated. I felt so bad during this time and can never forget what I went through in this month. I thank everyone who stayed close to me, from the club for all they did to the coach and my team-mates, who comforted me every day."

Coach Walter Mazzarri spoke of his delight that the duo had been cleared, as well as the fact the club's two-point deduction had been rescinded, leaving the club just three points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.

"First of all, I am very happy for Paolo and Gianluca, who are two lads with exceptional values," he told the club's official website on Thursday evening. "They had a terrible Christmas and were the victims of huge injustice.

"Naturally, I am also happy with our position in the table. We earned those two points on the pitch and it would've been another injustice if they had been taken away from us."

Meanwhile, club lawyer Mattia Grassani told how the verdict from the Federal Court of Appeal came after president Aurelio De Laurentiis helped dismantle the evidence Gianello gave at the original trial.

"It was a tough decision and took five hours in consultation," he told Sky Italia. "We are pleased that the court read the full dossier and had the strength and inner courage to deliberate in the opposite way to the first degree ruling.

"President De Laurentiis testified personally in this appeal and he strongly wanted to contribute to the case, putting it in his agenda as a priority. He gave testimony that was incisive, piercing, from the gut and the head. I think he was decisive."

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