Former Southampton striker Graziano Pellè has been removed from Italy’s squad for the match against FYR Macedonia on Sunday for his ‘disrespectful behavior’. The striker refused to shake hands with Italian manager Giampiero Ventura after he was substituted in the 1-1 draw against Spain on Thursday.
With Italy trailing 1-0 to Spain in the match on Thursday, Giampiero Ventura replaced Graziano Pellè, who now plays in China with Shandong Luneng, with Ciro Immobile. However, Pelle ignored Ventura’s outstretched hand as he walked off the pitch, and that has not gone down well with the Italian Football Federation.
In a statement released on their official website, the FIGC has announced the removal of Pelle from the squad. They stressed
“The Technical Commissioner Gian Piero Ventura, in agreement with the FIGC, has decided to exclude the player Graziano Pellè from the squad for the match against FYR Macedonia on Sunday 9 October in Skopje, for disrespectful behavior at the time of replacement during yesterday's race with Spain. Be part of the National fact involves the sharing of values and taking befitting the national team, starting with respect towards the staff, teammates and fans. The player will return to his parent club.
"The Pellè behavior was unacceptable and has forced us to intervene. The decision to exclude him from the national team was taken and shared by the technician and the Federation, while noting that the boy apologized to his teammates, with the technical and the Federation recognizing the error.
“The national team players have the task of representing the country and must be an example for our members, for fans and for many fans who follow us always with enthusiasm. For this, there are rules that all who are part of the national team players as the staff must comply, taking of appropriate behaviors to our responsibilities. This is our line and it is clear.
“Now the thought is for the Sunday evening match with Macedonia. The whole group is focused on this very important challenge on the road leading to the qualification to the World Cup 2018, which remains our goal main,” National Team Gabriele Oriali wrote in the official statement.
Ventura, however, has shown a bit of sympathy for Pelle, insisting that the player was just frustrated with his own performance on the pitch. He said, "I don't think Pelle was angry because of the sub, but maybe because of his performance. I have seen something like that a lot in my career. It belongs in football, but when you wear the Italy shirt, you need to be more careful."