Football

Solano issues coronavirus apology after ex-Newcastle star's arrest in Peru


Former Newcastle star Nolberto Solano has made a grovelling apology after being retained by police for breaking strict coronavirus quarantine rules in his native Peru.

The 45-year-old was intercepted after leaving a house with retired footballer Pablo Zegarra on Thursday night.

He angrily denied being at a party, insisting he was visiting a neighbour’s home, and raging: “The only people who can’t get together are those who are infected” in an initial refusal to accept he had been wrong.

But the ex-international, who also played for Aston Villa and West Ham, changed his tune late on Friday night by penning an open letter published by Peruvian media.

He said in the long letter, written in Spanish: “I write this letter with the sole intention of apologising to you all for not having obeyed the health rules imposed by the government on the country.

Former Newcastle star Nolberto Solano has made a grovelling apology

“Health and life are and must be the most important factors for us all, especially when the world is experiencing such a serious situation.

“During my entire life, I’ve always sought the best for my country and fought for it, and I will continue to do so.

“In this respect, I am conscious of the error I committed and will assume the consequences of my actions with the greatest responsibility, just like any other citizen who breaks a rule in our country.

“As sportspeople we sometimes don’t have the correct notion of the impact our actions cause outside of a stadium.”

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Nolberto Solano
Nolberto Solano during his Toon heyday

Justifying his initial refusal to accept he had been wrong, after appearing to place the blame on a TV station he claimed had set him up, the assistant manager of the Peru national team added in his letter: “These hours of anguish have enabled me to think that, just as I made many people happy on the football pitch at times, I am also capable, without intention, of making mistakes that cause upset and general annoyance.

“People never stop learning and this is another lesson life has given me.

“For this reason, within the negativeness of this situation, I hope that it at least serves as an example to everyone, especially children and young people, of what no Peruvian male or female should do while quarantine is in place.

Nolberto Solano (Pic:Getty Images)
Solano was retained by police for breaking strict coronavirus quarantine rules in his native Peru

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“I’ve gone through a very bad time because of what’s happened, but that is secondary if we can make sure no-one else disobeys the rules that have been established with the aim of winning the war in this crisis together.”

Local reports say Solano, who was not formally arrested but was taken to a police station to have his details recorded, could face up to three years in prison in a worst case scenario.

Peruvian Interior Minister Carlos Moran has said people who flout the country’s lockdown rules will face prosecution and a possible prison sentence of between six months and three years.

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Norberto, known in the UK as Nobby, is due to be summonsed to court once the current quarantine finishes so he can learn his fate.





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