AC Chievo Verona's Eriberto has revealed he has been playing under an assumed identity.
Fooling the opposition full-back is one thing, deceiving the whole of Italian football is something else altogether. AC Chievo Verona's Brazilian winger Eriberto - full name Eriberto Da Conceição Silva - has revealed he sold Serie A a dummy by playing under a false identity for the past four years.
Four years older
Eriberto confessed last night he was not actually who he claimed to be when he arrived in Italy to play for Bologna FC in 1998. His real name is Luciano Siqueira and he happens to be four years older than his registered date of birth of 21 January 1979.
The Brazilian, who was actually born on 3 December 1975, has played a key role in Chievo's fairy-tale rise over the past two seasons, playing 30 league games as they claimed a UEFA Cup place in their inaugural Serie A campaign in 2001/02.
'I had to tell the truth'
"I made a mistake, I confess," he said. "I had to tell the truth. I could not go on like this. Now I feel better. My wife Raquel has convinced me to take this step. And I wanted to do it not least also for my two-year old son Felipe."
Move broke down
A former Brazilian Under-20 international, Eriberto moved to Italy from SE Palmeiras to join Bologna, making his Serie A debut in September 1998 against Milan AC. He was involved in a transfer dispute between Chievo and S.S. Lazio this summer, the move breaking down due to the Rome club's cash problems, and has also been tracked by Italian champions Juventus FC.
After his revelation, however, Eriberto will now face legal proceedings and a likely suspension. Similar cases during last year's passport scandal were punished by Serie A suspensions ranging from four to six months and any ban would likely be extended worldwide by FIFA.
Support from Chievo
The Brazilian explained: "I asked Chievo for permission to go to Brazil last Wednesday. The following Tuesday I met my lawyers before appearing in court on Thursday to confess the truth. Now I hope that people will understand, and that I can return to full activity as quickly as possible. I have to thank the club officials at Chievo. They have immediately offered me their support. I'd like to play for the club again."
'I feel better'
Asked about the reasons why he accepted a forged passport, Eriberto said: "I was an orphan and I needed it to get a chance to realise my dream of becoming a professional player. I made a mistake. But now that I have revealed my real identity I feel better."