By Adebayo Williams
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has sent Graziano Pelle home after the striker failed to shake coach Giampiero Ventura’s hand after he was substituted in their draw against Spain. The Shandong Luneng forward was replaced by Ciro Immobile after the hour with the Azzuris trailing by a lone goal. The decision means the former Southampton man will not be in the squad to face Macedonia on Sunday.
“Being part of the national team entails the sharing of values and attitudes befitting the national team, starting with respect towards the staff, team-mates and fans. The player will return today to his parent club.”
Ventura had dismissed the incident as a normal occurrence in the game. He made light the situation at a post-match conference saying,
“These things happen. I think Graziano was more angry at himself and the way his performance went than anything else.”
Pelle has apologised to the team for his ‘mistake’. He posted an apology before he was punished by the country’s football federation.
“Unfortunately, I have once again made a mistake,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It was unacceptable behaviour, against the coach in the first place and also to my team-mates, who have always shown to have team spirit in a fantastic Italy group that we all belong to.