76 years after the death of Benito Mussolinithe worst dictator in the history of Italy, who became a partner of Lazio in 1929, the ghost of fascism lives on in the ‘biancocelesti’ team.
Last weekend, while hundreds of young people crowded the center of Rome to march against fascism, a Spanish man, wearing the official uniform of Lazio, decided to make the outrageous gesture of the outstretched arm and the firm hand behind the 3-1 victory of the Roman team against Inter Milan, at the Olympic Stadium.
In the video, which became a trend on social networks, you can see how Juan Bernabé, the roman eagle trainer who officiates as the team’s mascot, performs the ‘Nazi salute’ while the fans chanted the nickname ‘Il Duce’, with which the late Italian nationalist leader was recognized.
“I don’t deny him because I am an admirer of Mussolini, he has done so many great things for Italy as well as Franco in Spain. I’m an admirer of both and I’m not ashamed.”Bernabé himself declared in this regard in dialogue with the local newspaper ‘Il Messaggero’.
This man is called Juan Bernabé. He is Spanish and works in Lazio as an eagle trainer. And he has gone viral for this fascist salute to some fans of the Roman team.pic.twitter.com/vmxmpXM4H0
-Manu Heredia (@ManuHeredia21) October 20, 2021
Although the leaders of Lazio reported that they fired Bernabé, who had been in charge of the Roman eagle for almost 10 years, the controversy is far from over.
Despite criticism from various sectors of Italian society, this is not the first ‘fascist’ scandal in which the club is involved.
That stain has haunted the club after on October 6, 1929 a young Mussolini paid 1,000 Italian lira to become one of its select members.
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Insults to Anne Frank and the victims of Nazism
Those in charge of linking the club with the supremacist ideas, which the National Fascist Party raised in the 20th century, have been the ultra fans of Lazio.
In October 2018, during a derby against AS Roma, the ‘irriducibili’ (irreducible) crowd filled the Olympic stadium with offensive banners against a symbol of the victims of Nazism in Europe: Anna Frank.
This radical group put the image of Frank with the rival’s shirts and the inscription: “Anne Frank encourages Roma” as a sign of their antisemitism.
At the time, due to that outrageous event, the ‘biancocelesti’ team only had to pay a financial penalty.
The ultras of Lazio, famous for being racist and fascist, left stickers with the image of Anna Frank with the Roma shirt. pic.twitter.com/MObbphDjNz
– Toni Padilla (@Toni_Padilla) October 24, 2017
Fascism supporters footballers
The path of the club’s own players related to fascist ideology began with Giorgio Chinagliaa striker who shone in the 1970s for his goals and paled for his sympathy for far-right thinking that, in fact, he came to support as president of Lazio in the early 1980s.
Since then, his reprehensible legacy was revived by the also Italian paolo di caniowho played almost a decade wearing the Lazio shirt and who never hesitated to celebrate his goals by making the salute for which the eagle’s coach was now expelled.
In addition, from what he showed in effusive celebrations, although he is retired, Di Canio keeps the symbol of the imperial eagle on his back and an effigy of Benito Mussolini on his left arm.
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Racism against black players
Lazio ultras have not hesitated to discriminate against the majority of black players from rival clubs.
to dutch aaron winterthe first to wear the ‘blue jersey’, the fans returned the shirt to him after he offered it to them after a resounding victory against Roma.
Fabio Liverani, an Italian with a Somali mother, was shown nonconformity by the radicals when he arrived at the club in 2001, painting several Roman facades with degrading racist insults.
In times of the digital age, their discrimination has mutated to the web.
In 2012, the departure of the French striker Djibril Cisse de Lazio was marked by dozens of attacks by the ‘irriducibili’ on social networks.
(Be sure to read: Roma, by José Mourinho, was humiliated by Bodo).
The great-grandson of the ‘Duce’
At the beginning of this year it was news that Roman Benito Floriani Mussolinithe great-grandson of ‘Il Duce’, signed his first professional contract with Lazio after having been in the club’s youth team.
Although the young man, barely 18 years old, has not made any statement that would make him be judged as a ‘fascist’, Alessandra Mussolini, his mother, is a well-known political figure of the extreme right in Italy.
Likewise, Rachele Mussolini, one of Romano’s aunts, was elected a couple of weeks ago as a Rome councilor with the backing of the extremist party ‘Fratelli d’Italia’.
That seems to be the ‘inheritance’ of the dictator who, like him, moves both in politics and in football.
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