Martin Castrogiovanni suspended by Racing 92 over Vegas party pictures

Story highlights

  • Martin Castrogiovanni suspended by club
  • Player pictured with PSG stars in Las Vegas
  • Racing was playing European club match

(CNN)An international rugby player has been suspended by his club after being pictured partying in Las Vegas the same weekend his teammates contested a semifinal match in Europe's top competition.

Italy international Martin Castrogiovanni missed French side Racing 92's Champions Cup victory over his former team Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
    It was widely reported that the 119-cap forward had been given time off by his club so he could attend to a family matter in Argentina, where he was born.
    However, he was caught on camera partying topless in the U.S. with soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other members of French champion team Paris Saint-Germain.
    Other PSG players pictured alongside Castrogiovanni included Argentina international Javier Pastore and Marco Verratti. PSG had won the French League Cup on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Lille.
    "Following the publication in the media of photographs showing Martin Castrogiovanni with Paris Saint-Germain footballers this weekend at a hotel in Las Vegas, while the entire Racing squad was in Nottingham to contest a semifinal, Racing 92 have decided to suspend the player as a precautionary measure prior to launching legal proceedings," the rugby team said in a statement on its website.
    CNN contacted Castrogiovanni's representatives, who said the incident was "not quite as portrayed in the press." They declined to comment further but added they were "sure something will follow."
    Racing, which counts prominent rugby stars such as New Zealand's World Cup winner Dan Carter among its ranks, defeated Leicester 19-16 to progress to the final where it will face another English side, Saracens.
    Commonly known as "Castro" -- the name he had on his team shirt during a seven-year stint at Leicester -- the 34-year-old joined French team Toulon in 2013. He attacked the English club as "f***ing amateur" in comments to reporters after the sides met the following year.
    He also said, "I just don't like c***s" in reference to Leicester's director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, whom he believed had suggested the prop wanted to move from Leicester in order to earn more money.
    Castrogiovanni received a suspended four-match ban for that outburst and was ordered to pay a €10,000 ($11,300) fine to charity.
    In 2015, he missed part of the Six Nations tournament after being bitten on the nose by a friend's dog, and his involvement at last year's World Cup was cut short when he needed to have a tumor removed from his back.