Former Leeds United forward Mirco Antenucci has stunningly revealed that Massimo Cellino once interfered with squad selection to stop him from playing because he was scoring too many goals.

Antenucci played for the Whites between 2014 and 2016, scoring 19 goals in 80 appearances across all competitions.

Now playing for Italian club SPAL, the 33-year-old has recalled the time when Cellino decided to block him from playing in the first-team to ensure that he did not meet a clause in his contract that would be activated when he scored a certain number of goals.

“If I had scored 12 goals in my second season, there was a clause in my contract to automatically renew for another year. In December, I was on eight goals, so President Cellino forced the team not to play me. I still managed to get 10 goals before my flight to Italy,” he said to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, as translated by Football-Italia.

Cellino’s reign at Elland Road was plagued with controversy before he sold his stake in the club to Andrea Radrizzani last year.

Antenucci has been enjoying his time in Serie A with SPAL and this season has netted eight goals in 23 appearances in all competitions.

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Football Insider verdict

Anything that Cellino does is never really surprised, but it should make Leeds fans realise how grateful they should be for having Radrizzani instead of him. Radrizzani has had a bit of a meltdown in the last week or so, hitting out at Wolves and their transfer policy before criticising his own playing squad after just one win in 2018. But the Italian business has done far more good than bad. He bought back Elland Road and the women’s team, as well as funding an overhaul of the squad in the summer. Even though the players brought in have not been an improvement, it shows that he is willing to try his best to get Leeds back to where they should be.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have terminated this 24-year-old defender’s deal at the club.

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