The episode took place at a primary school in the small village of Minerbe (4,600 people), near Verona, after the girl’s parents, from Morocco, fell behind in paying for her lunch fees, the mayor Andrea Girardi told CNN.
“I spoke this morning with the agent of Antonio Candreva and we agreed that Candreva will make a donation directly to the school,” said Girardi, who belongs to the anti-immigrant League party.
“I also spoke on Sunday with Candreva. He called me. I was very surprised. He told me that he had read about the little girl tuna meal and wanted to know if he could help.”
The girl’s parents were nine months behind in paying for their daughter’s school meals, added Girardi. On March 29, she was given tuna and crackers while the other kids had pizza, according to the mayor. Italian media reported the girl burst into tears.
Candreva stepped in to help the girl “moved by father instinct” since he has two children, Stefano Marchesi, PR of Candreva’s football agency P&P Sport Management, told CNN.
“It wasn’t supposed to become of public domain,” said Marchesi, adding that the donation will be used to help “all those in difficulty at the school.”
The agent didn’t want to disclose the amount of the donation, while the girl’s family has yet to publicly comment on Candreva’s intervention.
But Girardi rebutted the criticism saying the local administration already helps about 30 families who were late in the school meal payments. He added that all 30 families — 26 immigrant and six Italians — have now received financial support.
“I am very happy that Candreva expressed his interest, also if he is important and gains a lot of money, it shows he cares about the others, about common people,” Girardi said.
“The donation that Candreva is doing will be used by the school, not for the meals, since the city has already supplied founds for the families in difficulties, but to buy stationery and support the budget of the kids that can’t afford other expenses as school trips.”
The 32-year-old Candreva has played over 50 times for the Italian national team.