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By ESPN Staff

Lazio's Di Canio promises to stop saluting

MILAN, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Lazio striker Paolo Di Canio has promised to stop displaying the fascist salute to his supporters.

Di Canio, who has twice been fined for the straight-arm gesture, told a radio station in Rome he would cease his 'Roman salute' to the fans in order to protect the club.

'During the Christmas break I have had time to reflect and I have decided to put the good of Lazio before my interests,' said the former West Ham United striker.

'For the moment I will avoid certain displays in public, situations which are so devilish for some people,' he said.

'But I will continue my battle for liberty in other ways, with he help of the lawyers who assist me,' said Di Canio.

The 37-year-old had previously vowed to continue with the salute despite receiving a one-match ban last month.

Di Canio could face another fine and ban when soccer authorities meet later this month to decide on the punishment for the salute he gave in a Serie A match at Livorno.

He was fined 10,000 euros ($12,070) and banned for one game after making the gesture in a home match against Juventus.

Three supporters groups have opened a bank account for donations to pay Di Canio's fine, Italian media have reported.

The striker, who has also played in Scotland with Celtic and for Italian clubs Juventus and AC Milan, first made the salute in the Rome derby last season - for which he was fined.

He has made no secret of his admiration for Italy's wartime fascist leader Benito Mussolini and has the word 'Dux', Latin for 'Duce', Mussolini's moniker, tattooed on his arm.

The forward also said that he was ready to extend his contract with Lazio beyond this season.

'I'm certainly not going to quit playing because I have a mission to complete here. I will only leave Lazio when the club decides that,' he added.