Dida suspended for two matches over fan incident
NYON, Switzerland -- AC Milan goalkeeper Dida was suspended for two Champions League matches Thursday for pretending to be injured after being touched by a Celtic fan who ran onto the field.
The incident occurred last week when the Scottish team beat Milan 2-1 in Glasgow. A fan ran onto the field late in the 90th minute and made what appeared to be minimal contact with Dida.
The Milan goalkeeper then turned to chase the fan before dropping to the ground. He was then carried off the field on a stretcher and replaced.
Celtic was fined $25,400 for the incident and will have to pay an additional $25,400 if it fails to control its fans again in the next two years.
"It's a suspension that is absolutely excessive," Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.
"It seems to us a very, very unbalanced sentence. It turns Dida into the protagonist of the incident, whereas the protagonist was someone else, and that's not right from a logical point of view."
Cantamessa said Dida was substituted after telling Milan's doctor that his head was spinning.
Milan also was investigated by UEFA, but was not sanctioned. The defending European club champion pleaded with UEFA for leniency on behalf of its Brazilian goalkeeper.
"I think he made a mistake and realizes he made a mistake, but our confidence in him absolutely will not change," Milan captain Paolo Maldini said before the verdict. "He remains a great goalkeeper. He's our top choice."
The 27-year-old fan who invaded the field was later arrested and banned for life from games by Celtic.