"Why the hell should I go on? We don’t need to draw, we need to win!" is what Daniele De Rossi is reported to have told an Italian assistant coach as he sat on the bench with Italy in need of a goal against Sweden on Monday night.
The Italians failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1958, falling 1-0 to Sweden on aggregate.
Big names such Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and possibly De Rossi are expected to retire following last night's game.
De Rossi was captured on TV arguing with the assistant coach. Following the game, he told Rai Sport that he was arguing that it would be better if Lorenzo Insigne, the Napoli forward, went to warm-up instead of him.
We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go.
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.
— nonleggerlo (@nonleggerlo) November 13, 2017