Fiorentina forward Adrian Mutu has been banned for nine months by the Italian Olympic Committee’s (Coni) anti-doping tribunal for failing two drug tests.
The Romania captain had twice tested positive for the banned stimulant sibutramine in January following matches against Bari and Lazio.
The 31-year-old will be clear to return to professional football on October 29.
Mutu’s lawyer Paolo Rodella described the sentence as “excessive for a laxative”, while Mutu told Fiorentina’s official TV channel that he was not happy.
“I’m not satisfied, they reduced it by three months and gave me nine months,” he said.
“It seems too much to me and now we’ll evaluate what to do because I was expecting a bigger reduction.
“I made a mistake but given how minor it was I’m paying too much.
“It’s important that the ban was not for a year, after a few games (next season) I’ll be ready to return.
“What I want to stress is that I’m sorry to have not been available for Fiorentina these last few months, for my team-mates, the club; so I apologise to everyone.
“I’m really sorry, I could have been there but for a minor offence I’m not. I apologise to everyone, also the fans.”
This was the second time he has been banned for doping having picked up a seven-month sentence in 2004 after taking cocaine whilst at Chelsea.