WHAT DE ROSSI SAID TO COACH WHEN HE ASKED HIM TO WARM-UP
Daniele De Rossi’s frustration was there for everyone to see as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The Roma midfielder was benched for the crucial fixture alongside Lorenzo Insigne, who has been in brilliant form for Serie A leaders Napoli this season. With the game petering out, and Italy heading for a very early exit, head coach Gian Piero Ventura looked to his bench for some inspiration. De Rossi was then asked to strip off and warm up, but responded angrily to the command, instructing Italy’s backing staff to put on a striker instead. TV cameras showed the Italian telling Ventura’s assistant: “Why the hell should I go on?” before pointing to Insigne, suggesting he should be played instead. De Rossi played down the incident after the game. He told Rai Sport: “We have this tendency to warm up three at a time. I just said we had to win, so send the strikers to warm-up. I pointed to Insigne too. It wasn’t up to me whether it was a tactical issue. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. At the time I just thought it was better that Insigne come on instead.” De Rossi announced his international retirement later.
because time passes.”
Andrea Barzagli and 34-yearold midfielder Daniele de Rossi, the other two members of Ita-
ly’s squad on Monday who lifted the 2006 World Cup, also retired from internationals in the aftermath of the shock defeat.
“It’s the biggest disappointment of my life from a sporting point of view... I can’t find my words,” said 36- year-old