The trainer of the eagle who is the mascot of the Lazio football club in Rome, suspended after giving a fascist salute in last weekend’s duel against Inter Milan, declared his admiration for the dictators Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco.
The Spanish Juan Bernabé was recorded by fans of the Olympic stadium saluting and shouting “Duce, Duce”, while holding the Olimpia eagle in his arm. The images generated a wave of criticism, including from the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy.
Bernabé, an employee of a company outside the club, was suspended but in an interview with the newspaper Il Messaggero, he stated that he did not understand “why so much commotion was generated” since he thought he was doing “a military salute.”
«I was born in the army, I come from a right-wing culture. I support Vox (a Spanish extreme right-wing party) like several footballers who are friends of mine and I am proud of this, ”says the coach, quoted by the newspaper.
He confirmed that he performed chants in favor of Mussolini, who founded the National Fascist Party and led Italy from 1922 to 1943, before he was assassinated near Lake Como in 1945.
«I did it and I don’t regret it because I admire Mussolini. He did great things for Italy as Franco did for Spain. I admire both and am proud of it, “he said. (AFP)