Juventus and Italy midfielder Nicolò Fagioli explained how and why he started gambling and admits he lost ‘a lot of money’ but is upset that he and Sandro Tonali were described as ‘two demons.’

Juventus midfielder Fagioli spoke for the first time since the end of a seven-month ban for gambling.

During an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 23-year-old explained why he started gambling and when he understood he had lost control of his life.

In April 2023, he made an error that led to a Sassuolo goal in a game against Juventus and he broke into tears when he was subbed off a few minutes later.

Fagioli admitted a few months later to having gambled on football matches but never on Juventus matches.

“When I broke into tears against Sassuolo, it was only because I had put my team in trouble, and at that moment, everything looked negative. It was all dark. I had made an error on the pitch, but the biggest mistake was inside myself,” Fagioli told Gazzetta.

Fagioli: ‘Gambling consumed my life, I lost a lot of money’

“The problem was that I could no longer control myself. Gambling had consumed my life. It was an obsession. A nightmare. I know I am a lucky guy that people of my age are in more dramatic situations and that I am not entitled to ask for sympathy. But I don’t want to be a hypocrite either.

“I was absorbed by a void that looked at nobody in the face. It doesn’t make differences based on social class, nor rewards or pardons depending on the talent.

“It all started as a game. I gambled a lot, but not on my team or myself,” the midfielder continued.

“I didn’t want to violate the principles in which I believe. I know it sounds ridiculous to use this word, but to me it’s important. I thought that playing football and gambling at the same time was not bad unless the two lines didn’t cross. I didn’t hurt the sports or have an impact on results or affect others’ rights.

“When the four or five hours of training end, the void opens wide. If you have no other interests, that abyss attracts you. I was bored. I know it sounds strange, but it’s like this. Success is an armour that does not resist loneliness and doesn’t allow you to fight against empty time.

“You think about how many writers, musicians and actors have had even more lethal addictions. Boredom ruined my life, and every problem, even the most stupid one, like an argument or a bad performance, had to be compensated by an adrenaline charge given by gambling. Every time I used that damn mobile, I felt like I was on the pitch.”

Fagioli: ‘I felt ashamed’

How did he feel?

“I didn’t talk to anyone about that because I was ashamed. I entirely lost control in January 2023. I didn’t ‘play well and I trained even worse,” he said.

“My head was elsewhere. I was sick of what I was living, but I couldn’t do without it. The centre of my life was gambling, no more football. I felt upside down. If I made a wrong pass, I told myself that it was that obsession’s fault.”

Fagioli used illegal online platforms to place bets, and he self-reported to the FIGC Prosecutor after the Turin prosecutor began a formal investigation.

“That hurricane that pushed me with my shoulders to the wall forced me to become a more responsible adult,” said the midfielder.

“I started therapy with Professor Jarre. I am looking inside myself to find the reasons and understand why I had no antidote against the void and the boardroom.

Fagioli: ‘Tonali and me described as two demons’

“When the Police came to my home, I had had surgery two days earlier, and I called my mum. I could no longer hide it. An external factor ended a twisted phase of my life and forced me to choose. Go down or stand up. I want to tell all the guys struggling that they should not fear to seek help.

“I was sorry that some papers described Tonali and me as two demons. I only hurt myself. I didn’t fix games; I didn’t condition results. I made mistakes, gambling on illegal sites and losing a lot of money. I know, and I knew it at that time too, that with these games, you only lose. I was disgusted by myself and I felt like an idiot, but I could not do without it.”

Fagioli has made eight appearances across all competitions this season, making his return after seven months in an away 3-3 draw against Bologna on May 20.

He has been included in the preliminary Italy squad for Euro 2024.

During the same interview Fagioli said he will give his all to be part of the final Azzurri squad for the Euros and that Juventus will fight to win the Scudetto next season.

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