Pelle sent home over coach snub

Oct 8, 2016
Graziano Pelle was sent home after he refused to shake hands with Italy head coach Giampiero Ventura.
Graziano Pelle was sent home after he refused to shake hands with Italy head coach Giampiero Ventura.

Graziano Pelle has been released from the Italy squad and will not travel with the team for their World Cup qualifier against Macedonia after he refused to shake the hand of coach Giampiero Ventura upon being substituted in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Spain.

Shandong Luneng striker Pelle, 31, left the field in frustration when replaced by Ciro Immobile and proceeded to walk past Ventura and ignore his outstretched hand.

A statement issued by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) stated that the head coach Giampiero Ventura, together with the FIGC, had decided to exclude Graziano Pelle from the list of players for the game with Macedonia on Sunday, Oct. 9 in Skopje.

“It was to his disrespectful behaviour at the moment of his substitution in the game against Spain yesterday,” the statement read.

“Being part of the national team means sharing the values and assuming an attitude which is in keeping with the Azzurra shirt, and this begins with showing respect for the staff, teammates and fans.The player will return to his club today.”

Pelle, who left the field with Italy trailing 1-0 to Spain in the World Cup qualifier, was replaced by an impressive Immobile.

Italy equalised through a Daniele De Rossi penalty to earn a draw in Turin.

Meanwhile, Spain and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told critics to enjoy it while they can, adding: “In the end they will be silenced, as they have been for many years.”

Ramos was speaking after conceding the penalty that Italy converted.

Spain seemed set for victory after dominating possession and going ahead when Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s error let in Vitolo to open the scoring.

But Ramos tripped Eder in the penalty area, and De Rossi equalised from the spot in what was Italy’s only shot on target of the entire 90 minutes.

Ramos, who has conceded four penalties from his 11 appearances in all competitions this season, faced criticism in the aftermath but he told reporters in the mixed zone at Juventus Stadium: “At the end of the day, mistakes can happen to everyone.

“Even Buffon, and here in Italy he is a national symbol, he gets applauded. In Spain they whistle you. That is the big difference. In Spain there is envy, and here there is admiration.

“I hope that those who want have a go at me enjoy it now but in the end they will be silenced, as they have been for many years. They’ve torn strips off me. But I did not get too high with the praise, and the criticism will not destroy me either.”

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