Soccer-Lazio defends newcomer Hysaj on initiation song
Serie A club Lazio took up the defense of new signing Elseid Hysaj on Monday after singing the left-wing hymn “Bella Ciao” at his initiation ceremony this weekend. The song was adopted as an anthem by the Italian Resistance Movement, which opposed the forces of Nazi Germany occupying Italy and then fought the Italian fascists in World War II, and has become synonymous with movements of resistance from all over the world.
It has since risen to prominence after being featured prominently in the Netflix series Money Heist (Casa de Papel). Hysaj’s performance angered a minority of die-hard Lazio fans, known as ‘ultras’, who have far-right ties and a history of racist behavior.
Local media said a group of fans attempted to face Hysaj, 27, at the club’s pre-season training camp in Auronzo Di Cadore on Sunday. The Albanian international has signed for the Roma side from Napoli on a free transfer to join former manager Maurizio Sarri, who took over from Simone Inzaghi last month.
“It is the job of a club to protect its player and to shield him from situations where he is used for personal and political gain,” Lazio said in a statement. “In this case, it certainly had nothing to do with the informal and friendly context of what happened.
“The training camp must continue in the climate of calm that we have enjoyed until today.” ($ 1 = € 0.8477)
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