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Perugia and Korean hero make peace

Ahn Jung-hwan celebrates dumping Italy out of the World Cup
Ahn Jung-hwan celebrates dumping Italy out of the World Cup  


ROME, Italy -- Italian football club Perugia has made peace with the man who knocked Italy out of the World Cup after saying he would not be welcome back, according to reports.

The Serie A side disowned Ahn Jung-hwan following his extra-time golden goal last week. He had been playing with Perugia after being loaned out by South Korean side Pusan.

Now Perugia have completed a permanent signing for a fee thought to be $1.5 million.

Perugia chairman Luciano Gaucci had told Italian sports' daily La Gazzetta dello Sport: "That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again.

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"He was a phenomenon only when he played against Italy. I am a nationalist and I regard such behaviour not only as an affront to Italian pride but also an offence to a country which two years ago opened its doors to him. I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer."

But now Ahn is set to return next season. Harmony was restored during telephone conversations he had with Perugia director Alessandro Gaucci, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Perugia's Web site said: "There is now complete satisfaction on both sides after misunderstandings created before and after the South Korea-Italy game. The issue, which caused too many arguments, is closed."

The chairman's decision provoked outrage among fans all over the world and many e-mailed CNN with their views. One supporter from Singapore said: "The Italian reaction is a reflection of how far they have fallen since the days of the great Roman Empire, when losers were as magnanimous in defeat as they were in victory." (Your views)

La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested Perugia had seen the value of a player believed to be attracting interest from several clubs in the English Premiership.





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