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14th Nov 2017

Supporters loved what Daniele De Rossi did when told to warm up by Italy coach

What passion

Darragh Murphy

As much as he would have loved to have contributed to the desperate attempts to nab a goal in what would have been his last appearance in an Italian jersey, Daniele De Rossi did not want to come on against Sweden on Monday evening.

With time ticking away and Italy trailing by the goal scored by Sweden in Stockholm last Friday, Italy manager Gian Piero Ventura approached De Rossi and asked him to start warming up.

De Rossi, being a defensive midfielder, knew that he was not what was required because the hosts did not need the centre of the park shored up.

They needed goals.

A furious De Rossi remonstrated with Ventura and ordered him to put on extra firepower in the form of Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne, who would have posed more of a goalscoring threat, but Ventura ignored the request.

“Why the hell should I go on? We don’t need to draw here. We need to win!” De Rossi is understood to have told Ventura, before pointing at Insigne.

After the second leg, which ended 0-0 and meant that Italy now miss out on a place at the World Cup for the first time since 1958, De Rossi apologised if he crossed the line in undermining Ventura’s authority but, in reality, supporters loved the passion that he showed on the bench in his last act as an Italy international.

“We have this tendency to warm up three at a time, then after five minutes we change and another three go,” he told Rai Sport, as translated by Goal.

“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.”