Ventura explains Barzagli's 'problems' after Italy withdrawal
Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has explained that Andrea Barzagli withdrew from their squad due to "problems with his wife" amid allegations he went out partying following his release.
After featuring in a 2-0 victory over Albania at the weekend, Barzagli asked to not be considered for selection for Tuesday's friendly with Netherlands due to off-field issues.
The defender was subsequently included in a photograph a DJ shared on social media in the early hours of Sunday morning, attracting criticism from supporters.
The DJ later insisted that the photo was taken in a restaurant much earlier in the evening, with Ventura also saying that Barzagli spoke to him to clear the situation up.
Ventura has no worries about the 35-year-old's professionalism, though, and revealed the whole team had a say in whether or not Barzagli could leave the group.
"Barzagli told me that he had problems at home with his wife," Ventura told reporters at a media conference. "It took me completely by surprise.
"The photos seemed to have been taken at three in the morning, but then we contacted him and he explained the situation to us.
"I was surprised by the photos, but when someone's outside Coverciano [Italy's training base], what they do no longer affects me.
"If a player has a problem, his non-inclusion is taken into consideration. We also had a meeting with the group before making our decision.
"Barzagli's a professional by definition. He revealed some serious personal problems to me and we decided to let him go and deal with them.
"There was nothing agreed with Juventus."
Ventura also hit back at legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi for criticisms made after win over Albania, with the former AC Milan tactician claiming the current national team needs rejuvenating.
"I read Sacchi's criticism after Albania," Ventura said. "I'm a bit disappointed – even his Italy side had difficulties.
| #Ventura: "We've done a lot to follow this path with training camps and there's no reason to stop. The benefits are there to be seen."— Italy (@azzurri) March 27, 2017
"Sacchi is absolutely a role model, but I would just like more time for reflection before judgements are made."