Nicolo Zaniolo ‘prepared to SUE’ Jose Mourinho’s Roma for ‘mobbing and psychological pressure’ after he refused transfer
NICOLO ZANIOLO is reportedly prepared to sue Roma for their treatment of him in recent weeks.
The Italian midfielder, 23, has been frozen out since mid-January after handing in a transfer request.
However, the star is said to have refused a move to Bournemouth, who signed Hamed Traore instead.
That left Roma furious, with the club missing out on the agreed £26million offered by the Cherries, prompting an angry fan backlash.
And now Il Messaggero claim Zaniolo’s family have contacted lawyers in an attempt to hit Roma with legal papers.
The report says the family will allege “mobbing and psychological pressure” amid a “media massacre” against their son.
Zaniolo was apparently chased and sent death threats, while his mother was also the subject of vile abuse, in response to the public spat.
The report adds that the Italian Footballers’ Association – who are there to provide assistance to players when there is difficulty with their clubs – have also been informed.
It also states that Zaniolo has been given permission to temporarily miss training and temporarily move 250 miles up the west coast of Italy from Rome to La Spezia with his parents during this turbulent time.
The player – under contract at the Stadio Olimpico until 2024 – now has fears for his chances of being named in the Italian national team squad.
It is understood manager Jose Mourinho, president Dan Friedkin and senior staff together decided to sideline Zaniolo following his request to leave.
The 11-cap international has not featured in any of the last four matchday squads since playing 86 minutes against Genoa on January 12.
During that time, he was involved in an awkward moment when Mourinho, 60, handed a slice of his birthday cake to captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was standing next to Zaniolo in the dressing room.
Mourinho was asked about the situation before Sunday’s defeat at Napoli.
The Portuguese gaffer said: “Zaniolo has been saying for a month that he wants to leave. Unfortunately, it looks like I was right.
“I say unfortunately because the player has been saying for a month that he wants to leave.
“If a player tells everyone he no longer wants to wear the Roma jersey, I have to say unfortunately.
“When a player tells you, the club and his team-mates, ‘I don’t want to wear the Roma jersey, I don’t want to play, I don’t want to go back to training…’ I have to say unfortunately.
“The ideal situation is for the player to be happy.
“I said that I expected him to stay, but as things stand today, I have to add unfortunately to that sentence.”
Zaniolo joined Roma from Inter Milan in 2018 but has been limited to 128 appearances after suffering two separate ACL injuries.
He returned from the second at the beginning of last season and scored the winning goal in the Europa Conference League final against Feyenoord.
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