A long time identified hooligan supporter of Argentina's Boca Juniors, Adrian 'El Panadero' (the baker) Napolitano has admitted carrying out the pepper spray attack on River Plate players during last Thursday's super derby for the Libertadores Cup while arguing he did not realize the damage the assault would cause.
I regret my actions. The moment I realized, I wanted to die. I have never been in a police station, I am despairing, the Boca 'barra-brava confessed in an interview with Argentina's main sports channel.
The truth is that I did what I did without realizing, my whole world is crashing in.
Napolitano, who is believed to be a member of an opposing faction of Boca's 'La 12' hooligan organization, insisted that the attack which left four River man needing hospital treatment was an accident. The aggressor also insisted that he was a hard worker, who got up every day at 4am to work in a bakery.
I thought there were no cameras. I never thought this would go so far, he added. I am afraid, I do not know what to do or how to react. My family is afraid.
Napolitano had been suspected of involvement since the immediate aftermath of the incidents, which led to the Copa Libertadores last-16 tie being abandoned and awarded to River. In effect videos from the stadium's cameras caught him red-handed.
Rough, unseen images have been obtained which show the precise moment of the attack, which on being matched with other information gathered in the Prosecutor's Office have led to the identification of the aggressor and his accomplices,” Boca Juniors confirmed in a statement published on its website. As those involved are members of the club, Boca has handed over the details of those fans located in the sector at the time of the attack to the authorities.
In the recording, the suspect - in a yellow shirt and blue fisherman's hat - is seen working around the sleeve surrounding the River tunnel, in films provided by Boca security authorities from closed-circuit cameras in the stadium. After spraying the sleeve, which is left with a distinctive orange stain, Napolitano walks away from the scene and back into the stands. Around 10 people are recorded participating in the assault, with officials working towards positive identifications.
The video shows Napolitano was responsible for the incident which left four River Plate players as they returned to the field for the second half: Leonardo Ponzio, Leonel Vangioni, Matías Kranevitter and Ramiro Funes Mori, needing hospital treatment for burn injuries.
Toxicological studies proved the spray found on the sleeve and on River Plate shirts was a home-made concoction. Tests found that the substance was a mix of chilis and cayenne pepper fermented in acid and commonly used in prison fights.
'El Panadero' has been linked to the Boca hooligans for more than ten years, with photos emerging in recent days of him alongside club legend Carlos Bianchi and in a Copa Libertadores game played in Brazil back in 2003.