Massimo Cellino
Cellino wants to return as Leeds' owner, despite having his ban extended.Getty Images

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has pledged to return to Elland Road after serving his Football League ban from influencing operations at the West Yorkshire club.

The Italian businessman is currently barred from running The Whites after seeing a ban for failing the league's owners' and directors' test extended until May, after the club withheld documents relating to the case which saw him found guilty of tax evasion.

Confirmation of the increase in the punishment was followed by reports that Cellino could permanently stay away from running Leeds however the 58-year-old says he plans to return at the end of the season.

"I want to clear my name and come back, of course I do," he told Simon Austin Sport. "I have done a lot of big things for this club, but the work is not finished.

"The fans have kept me going through all of this. People might say these are just words, that this is b******t, but it's true. If it wasn't for the fans, I would have left before."

Speaking on next season, Cellino added: "If we can get two, three new players in the summer then we will be strong next season. Then we can start to think about the Premier League. But they have to be the right players."

Amid news of the extension of Cellino's ban from owning Leeds, Australian actor Russell Crowe was linked with a takeover bid after asking his followers on Twitter whether he should own the club.

Leeds LLP, a group which supports fan ownership, have begun talks with Crowe, who is currently the co-owner of Australia rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs.

However, Cellino is refusing to take the declaration seriously and says as yet the Oscar winning 50-year-old had made no contact with the club after the proposed takeover.

"I heard this story about Russell Crowe and I laughed," he said. "I like this actor very much and I love his film, Gladiator.

"As far as I know, he hasn't made any contact, but, look, I am not involved with the club at this time.

"When I read that Crowe is a Leeds fan, I said 'this is fantastic'. I tell you though: owning Leeds is more difficult than fighting as a Gladiator."