Cazorla plays down Atletico talk

BY foxsports • July 27, 2013

Torino goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet has had his appeal against a 43-month ban from football for alleged involvement in match-fixing at former club Bari rejected by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

The Belgian keeper, 34, was the most high-profile player who faced charges of sporting fraud in relation to both Bari's defeat to Treviso on May 11, 2008 and their subsequent loss to Salernitana on May 23, 2009.

Gillet was on the Puglian club's books between 2001 and 2011, playing in both the matches under suspicion and, in the light of the verdict issued on July 16, he faced a premature end to his career.

That possibility became entirely likely as the FIGC confirmed the rejection of 12 appeals from the group of individuals handed bans two weeks ago - but two were partially successful.

A statement published on the FIGC's official website today confirmed a four-year ban for Massimo Gancu while Gianluca Galasso will join Gillet on a 43-month ban.

Forty-two-month bans for Simone Bonomi, Francesco Caputo, Daniele De Vezze, Luca Fusco, Stefano Guberti, Vitali Kutuzov, Alessandro Parisi, Ivan Rajcic and Vincenzo Santuruvo were also upheld.

However, Corrado Colombo had his six-month ban halved while Raffaele Bianco's 42-month suspension was reduced by six months.

The Spain international has been linked with a return to his home country, with Atletico Madrid believed to be prepared to launch a bid for him.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone has not denied that his side were interested in Cazorla, who joined the Gunners last summer from Malaga for £15million, commenting last week that "anything is possible" when asked about the midfielder.

However the 28-year-old, who is enjoying the final days of his extended summer holiday before joining up with his club for pre-season training, has reaffirmed his commitment to Arsene Wenger's side.

"There has been a lot of speculation about a move to Atletico Madrid but I'm very happy at Arsenal, I have a contract there and I start training on Monday," he said. "Perhaps I will return to Spain one day, but right now it's very unlikely."

Atletico's most significant signings this summer have been Leo Baptistao, who joined for around 7m euros (£6m) from Rayo Vallecano, and David Villa, who arrived from Barcelona for an initial 2.1m euros (£1.8m).

Although Cazorla stressed he was not about to link up with his Spain team-mate Villa at the Calderon, he said he was pleased for him.

"I'm very happy for Villa, because he had a difficult year with Barcelona due to his injury [a broken leg he suffered in December 2011], but now he's got another chance to shine again," he said.

And he declared to work extra hard this year for Arsenal so he can be guaranteed a place in Spain's squad for next year's World Cup in Brazil, after missing his country's triumph in South Africa due to a back injury.

He said: "I still have unfinished business in the World Cup after missing the last one because of my back. I really want to experience a World Cup, so I have to have a great year with Arsenal. I hope this year is even better than the last."


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