MILAN: Italian 2006 World Cup-winner Gennaro Gattuso is among four men questioned in the latest swoops by Italian police in a matchfixing investigation.

The long-running inquiry is run by the public prosecutor’s office in Cremona into claims that 53 games were fixed in Serie B and lower Legia Pro in 2012-2013. Also under suspicion are three games in 2011 involving Milan, Lazio, Juventus and Internazionale.

Former Lazio player Cristian Brocchi was also questioned during 15 raids across northern Italy – including Milan, Bologna, Rimini and Messina – which involved a dozen ‘new’ former Serie A and Serie B players. The search warrants were issued by investigating magistrate Guido Salvini.

A statement from his office said that Gattuso, former Milan and Rangers player, and Brocchi are being investigated in a new line of inquiry into “a conspiracy to cheat and sports fraud.”

Andrea D’Amico, Gattuso’s agent, said: “As far as Rino is concerned this came out of nowhere, a a bolt from the blue.”

Also arrested were Salvatore Spadaro and Francesco Bazzani, alleged associates of Beppe Signori, the former Lazio striker who was banned from football in 2011 for five years for matchfixing.

Present and former players of Bologna, Palermo, Siena, Pescara, Atalanta and Parma in have also been questioned.

Police director Raffaele Grassi said: “This operation confirms the commitment of the police to uncover the phenomenon of matchfixing and which is inserted in a broader context of the investigation.”

Gattuso, 35, played for Perugia, Rangers, Salernitana, Milan and Sion in Switzerland.

He scored one goal in 73 appearances for Italy between 2000 and 2010 which included the World Cup trioumoph in Germany in 2006.

Early this season he had a brief spell as coach of PAlermo.