Sandro Tonali looked broken as he walked off the St James' Park pitch, it's sad to see
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Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali was visibly emotional as he walked off the St James' Park pitch following Saturday's Premier League clash against Crystal Palace.
The 23-year-old Italy international, who joined the Magpies in July for around £55 million, is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation in relation to illegal betting activity.
In fact, more than 40 other players are suspected of being involved in the scandal, according to reports.
After breaching betting regulations, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli has already been handed a 12 month ban – five of which are suspended – and fined £10,850.
And former Brescia and AC Milan man Tonali could face a lengthy ban if he is found to be in breach of Article 24 of Italy's sporting justice code.
Newcastle fans unveiled a flag showing their support to Sandro Tonali at St. James' Park today ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/Wv2ITfyq50— SPORTbible (@sportbible) October 21, 2023
Tonali was, however, given the green light to play for Newcastle after the international break and, with Eddie Howe's side 4-0 up against Crystal Palace, the Italian replaced Bruno Guimaraes in the 69th minute.
Thousands inside St James' Park showed their support for Tonali, who is said to be battling a gambling addiction.
And after what could be his final game for several months, the midfielder looked close to tears as he left the pitch alongside captain Kieran Trippier.
"Tonali looks like he’s crying here with Tripps' arm around him," said Newcastle fan Kendall Rowan.
"He’s broken the rules and will face the consequences but regardless this must be an exceptionally hard time for him and I’m so glad we and the club have shown him unwavering support."
A banner of Tonali with the words 'Forza Tonali' was held up in the Gallowgate end throughout Saturday's game before Tonali was pushed to the front during their post-match lap of honour.
After the full-time whistle, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said the "hardest part is ahead" for the midfielder.
“Let’s wait and see, but yes, I think the hardest part is ahead regardless of what happens," he said.
“Immediately, you get a lot of attention and people are talking about the situation. He’s had the love of the supporters today, but that’s difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Who knows what’s ahead?
“I just think it’s great for him to know he’s got the support, not just of the senior management at the football club and the manager, but also the support of the supporters and they’re the most important people.”
Tonali and Aston Villa player Nicolo Zaniolo were questioned by police in Italy last week amid an investigation into illegal betting.
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