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Andrea Pirlo crowned Italy's best player

Pirlo has matured with age like a fine wine. Credit: Reuters

Andrea Pirlo has been voted Italy's best player by his peers for the third year in a row.

The Juventus and Italy playmaker has received the Italian Professional Footballers' Association (AIC) trophy in a gala in Milan.

The 35-year-old, who has joined Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the only player to have earned the title three times, has won the award every year since joining the Turin giants from AC Milan in 2011.

"I'm very honoured," Pirlo told the Italian media. "It's always a great pleasure to win this award.

"It means that I have done a good job and that I am maintaining myself at the highest level.I would like to thank all of my colleagues who have voted for me."

Sampdoria president apologises for calling Indonesian Inter chairman 'that Filipino'

Ferrero claims he didn't mean to offend Thohir. Credit: sampdoria.it

Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero has apologised after referring to Inter Milan's Indonesian Chairman Erick Thohir as "that Filipino."

Ferrero made the comment on Sunday when asked about the growing tensions at Inter which have seen long serving Massimo Moratti step down as honorary chairman.

Moratti's decision was influenced by complaints about the Serie A club's finances from Thohir, who bought a controlling 70% stake last year.

Indonesian Thohir was referred to as "that Filipino" by Ferrero. Credit: PA

Ferrero told Italian broadcasters RAI:

"Moratti is a great man and it's unfair that he has been treated like this. He has given so much to Italian soccer... I told him to boot that Filipino out."

In a statement published on Sampdoria's website, Ferrero later wrote:

"I did not want to be disrespectful of Thohir, of Inter's directors or of the people of the Philippines, with whom I have a wonderful relationship."

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Dozens of Italian football clubs searched in tax probe

Prosecutors in Naples have ordered the search of dozens of football club offices as part of a tax fraud investigation relating to player contracts.

Juventus is one of the Italian football clubs being investigated by prosecutors in Naples. Credit: Reuters

Financial police were executing search warrants today at the offices of about 20 Serie A clubs, including AC Milan, Juventus and Lazio, in addition to clubs in lower leagues.

A statement by Naples prosecutors said some foreign clubs were also part of the investigation, but they did not identify them.

Prosecutors said the clubs are under investigation for alleged conspiracy to avoid payment of "huge amounts of money" to tax authorities during the transfer of players.

Juventus fined after fans target Balotelli with racist chants

Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was targeted with racist chants on Sunday. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Serie A side Juventus have been fined €4,000 by the Italian league after its supporters targeted AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli with racist chants during a win over Catania on Sunday.

Lazio were also fined €10,000 by Italian footballing authorities after its supporters displayed an offensive banner against UEFA's President Michel Platini.