Friday, September 14, 2012

Raphael Honigstein: German defender Pezzoni loses his job following threats, violence

"I was insulted by my own supporters in the stadium," the 23-year-old Pezzoni told Welt am Sonntag. The next day, five men turned up outside Pezzoni's Cologne apartment and threatened to beat him up. Another threat ("Be careful when it gets dark") was left on the windscreen of his car. A Facebook group called for him to be shot and have his legs broken. (In February, Pezzoni suffered a broken nose after a run-in at the carnival, but it's unclear whether the motive of his assailant was personal or football-related.) The club said the player was no longer able to play football in this hostile environment and that his wish to be relieved of his duties would be met. Then the story got worse. Pezzoni claimed it had in fact been Köln, not him, who had first raised the prospect of him leaving the club. "I had hoped that those in charge would stand behind me and try to protect me," he said. "A club should be able to protect his players from his fans. This wasn't the case here. I never wanted to rescind my contract -- they suggested that to me. It seems to me as if they'd simply waited for an opportune moment to get rid of me."

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