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Graziano Pelle sent back to China after refusing to shake hands with Italy coach Giampiero Ventura


The former Southampton player has been sent home for reacting badly, although he later apologised.

Graziano Pelle Giampiero Ventura
Ventura played down the incident saying Pelle was more angry on himself

Italian forward Graziano Pelle has been axed from the national team squad for the rest of the international games during the break. The decision has been made public by the Italian football federation with the consent of the manager Giampiero Ventura following the player’s disrespectful behaviour of refusing to shake his hands. Pelle seemed to be unhappy at being substituted in Italy’s game against Spain at a time when they were trailing by one goal.

Italy eventually equalised and drew the World Cup qualifier courtesy of a Daniele de Rossi late penalty. However, after the match manager Ventura tried to bury the hatchet when asked about the awkward drama.

"These things happen," said Ventura. "I think Graziano was more angry at himself and the way his performance went than anything else."

Nonetheless, the Italian football federation announced today morning that Pelle has been sent back to his club in China, Shandong Luneng, and will therefore miss Sunday's qualifier at Macedonia. 

"Manager Giampiero Ventura, in agreement with the (Italian federation) FIGC, has decided to exclude Graziano Pelle from the squad for the Macedonia match because of his disrespectful behaviour when he was replaced," a federation statement read.

"To be part of the national team implies the sharing of common values and behaviour conforming to the wearing of the blue shirt, beginning with respect towards the management, players and fans. The player will today return to his club."

Giving his views on the incident, veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon seemed to empathise with his compatriot describing it as a tough reaction in a very tense situation. Furthermore, he also called upon Pelle to realise his mistake and apologise for the same.

It seems the striker has paid heed to the senior’s advice as Pelle apologised on Instagram for the incident, describing his behavior as "unacceptable".

"I've done something stupid. I behaved unacceptably towards the boss (Ventura) and to my teammates, who have always displayed their values in this fantastic group of which we're part," he posted on Instagram.

"Every serious mistake inevitably has its consequences and it's absolutely right that I take responsibility for what's happened. It's my duty to say I'm sorry."

Graziano Pelle will now be back in China at his club. This summer window, Pelle took a transfer to the Chinese club Shandong Luneng from Southampton, making him one of the highest-paid footballers on the planet.

Also Read: 20 of the best foreign players to have played in the Chinese Super League

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