Cape Town – Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi explained his dugout remonstrations with head coach Gian Piero Ventura as Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Roma midfielder was caught on camera in a heated exchange with Ventura who had told him to warm up with De Rossi in turn angrily pointing to Lorenzo Insigne who he believed should be brought on instead.
De Rossi is reported to have said "Why the fuck should I go on? We don't need to draw here, we need to win!".
The 34-year-old who confirmed that he has taken off the Azzurri jersey "for the last time" later said that it was nothing personal against Ventura.
"We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go," he told Rai Sport .
"I just said we were near the end and 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 perhaps it was better that Insigne come on instead."
"Now the next generation is ready to take flight and we must begin again from them. It was almost an absurd moment to associate with a football match. There was a funereal atmosphere in the locker room, yet nobody died.
"I've been wandering around Coverciano and all over the world with this jersey for over a decade, so to take it off for the last time is a strange feeling."
Meanwhile Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon also confirmed in a tearful interview that it would be the last time that he would be representing the Italian international team after making 175 appearances.
— Valerio Curcio (@ValerioCurcio) November 13, 2017