By now most of you will be more than familiar with the Adrian Mutu saga that is currently rumbling away in Italy, as FIFA ordered Juventus, in part with fellow Italian outfit Livorno, to pay Chelsea €21 million in damages for the signing of the Romanian in January 2005.
Basic history lesson now. Mutu cost Chelsea a lot of money, he started well in London before going sideways and being kicked out for a positive cocaine test in October 2004. Mutu had to pay damages, but Juventus went on to sign him before they were technically allowed, loaning him to Livorno - now Chelsea want to be compensated.
FIFA agree with Chelsea, and say that this sum represents a fair estimation of what they owe Chelsea.
Juventus, who despite their lofty position at the head of Italian football, do not have bags of money to throw around anymore, are obviously perturbed by this decision and will appeal the decision in due course, according to Italian sources.
But as far as Mutu is concerned, the matter no longer involves him.
The Romanian has already served a lengthy suspension and paid a massive fine for his actions - and no longer wants this case dragging his name through the mud.
Here is what his former agent Ioan Becali had to say about the matter:
“Mutu has paid for what he did, paying a fine and spending seven months on the side-lines. Juventus are to blame. I spoke to Mutu last week and also last night, as we keep in touch. It is not Adrian’s fault and he cannot pay any figure to end this conflict. He fundamentally earned his wages and nothing more. Juventus should’ve waited for the seven-month ban to expire, as discussions were only allowed to begin after that period.’’
Mutu is now 34-years-old and not exactly raking in the money at Ligue 1 outfit AC Ajaccio, so there is little doubt he would not be able to pay such an extortionate sum.
For me, it is hard not to feel sorry for Mutu. He made a mistake, granted - but people commit crimes of ten times magnitude and receive better punishment than the former Parma and Fiorentina forward has.
Yet still this rumbles on, with no end in immediate sight.
His career is now approaching its natural conclusion - with rumours suggesting he could even call it quits at the end of the current season.
But unfortunately this talented player’s legacy looks like being a bitter continental legal battle - not his genuine talent.
image: © Enrico Carcasci