Lazio president Claudio Lotito inundated with 'death threats' from fans
February 4, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
Italian entreprenuer Claudio Lotito has been president of Lazio since 2004.
- Lazio president Claudio Lotito receives death threats from fans
- Fans reacted angrily after Lotito sanctioned the sale of Hernanes to Inter Milan
- Hernanes joined Lazio in 2010, going on to make over 100 appearances
- The Brazilian was out of contract at the end of the current season
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- Troubled by racism and corruption, Italian football's image took another turn for the worst after Lazio president Claudio Lotito revealed he had received "death threats" from scores of fans after selling star player Hernanes to Inter Milan.
Hernanes, the Brazilian who arrived at Rome-based Lazio in 2010, swapped the Italian capital for Milan at the end of the January transfer window.
"Yesterday, I received between 50 to 70 to 80 telephone calls from pseudo-fans, in which they asked me to leave Lazio and made death threats against me," Lotito told reporters.
For the ninth straight year Real Madrid are ranked as the world's richest club with a total revenue of $702 million. Their global reach allows the Spanish club to make millions in commercial revenue, both domestically and internationally, thanks to marketable stars like Cristiano Ronaldo -- recently crowned the world's best player.
Football's Rich List
Cristiano Ronaldo raises the Ballon d'Or, after being crowned FIFA's best for the second time in his career.
Fifa Ballon d'Or gallery
"I live under escort," he added. "The supporters are part of the club but now they have overstepped the mark."
Hernanes became a firm favorite among Lazio fans after joining the club from Sao Paulo; making over 100 appearances and helping the team win the 2013 Coppa Italia.
But, with his contract expiring at the end of the current season, Hernanes would have been able to switch clubs without Lazio commanding a transfer fee, leaving Lotito with no choice but to sell the player.
"It was Hernanes' decision to leave, so what could I do?" added Lotito. "He had an agreement with Inter. If he had stayed, he would have been unhappy.
"He would have stayed here unhappy until June, then gone off to the World Cup, then come back for a few months and left on a free transfer.
"If you want to leave, you've got to say so."
In recent years Italian football has been troubled by racist chanting towards black players, while supporters use football as an excuse to play out long-running spats between different parts of Italy's cities as well as its regions.
Match fixing has also blighted Italian football with leading club Juventus relegated to the second tier over the Calciopoli scandal in 2006.
Lotito himself was banned from football for two-and-a-half years for his involvement in the Calciopoli scandal.
Hernanes, who has played 23 times for his country, will hope to be part of Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad when Brazil hosts the World Cup later this year.
Read: Chelsea ends Man City's home run
Read: Spain mourns "tiki taka" master Aragones
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
After a miserable Champions League defeat to Olympiakos, CNN's John Sinnott wonders if Manchester United is officially in trouble.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
CNN's David Ford analyzes the changing face of Manchester City since Barcelona's last visit to the English club 11 years ago.
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
A ruling that Polish fans will not face legal action after anti-Semitic chanting sparks debate over whether it signals acceptance of such attacks.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
If FIFA really cared about gay rights, why did it give the World Cup to a country where homosexuality is illegal, asks CNN's James Masters.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
Today's five most popular stories