By Andrew Warshaw
French top-flight club Nice have sacked their teenage striker Lamine Diaby-Fadiga (pictured) after he admitted stealing a watch apparently worth €70,000 from team-mate Kasper Dolberg in the dressing room last month.
Nice opened an investigation after Dolberg, signed from Ajax for £18 million, reported the missing watch, and have now dispensed with the services of Diaby-Fadiga, an under-18 international and one of the most promising prospects in France .
“OGC Nice and Lamine Diaby Fadiga parted ways on Tuesday,” Nice said in a statement. “Following the theft of Kasper Dolberg’s watch from the professional first team’s changing room, and the subsequent admission of the player, the club decided to cancel its contract with the 18-year-old forward with immediate effect.
“Above and beyond all sporting and financial consideration, Nice cannot and will not accept such behaviour that betrays the confidence that unites all the club’s employees and all the members of the Rouge et Noir [Red and Black] family.”
On Twitter, Diaby-Fadiga could not disguise his remorse.
“My actions were not taken out of an appetite to gain something from it, but out of disappointment, frustration and feeling discredited,” he said.
“Of course, I am only 18, but my age excuses nothing. I therefore owned up to what I had done to Kasper, Mr Fournier, the Director General of the club, Patrick Vieira, my coach and Dante, my captain. One by one, I apologised to each one of them. I also took on the responsibility of reimbursing my team-mate fully, which I have now done.”
“Now, I am leaving the club where I had always wanted to succeed and enjoy myself, which for me is the greatest possible punishment. I thank all those who believed in me. I hope to be able to prove one day that they were right and that I am worth more than what has happened. Redemption for me will come on the football pitch and I now want to concentrate on my passion, football.”