Pelle Sent Home after Handshake Snub

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Italy forward Graziano Pellè has been removed from the squad for refusing to shake coach Gianpiero Ventura’s hand after being substituted.

Pellè was taken off on the hour after an ineffective display in the World Cup qualifier against Spain, which ended in a 1-1 draw, report the Guardian

The Italian football federation says Pellè has been sent back to his club in China, Shandong Luneng, and will therefore miss Sunday’s qualifier in Macedonia.

“Unfortunately, it’s happened again, I’ve messed things up,” the 31-year-old said on Instagram.

“It was unacceptable behaviour, firstly against the coach and also, towards my team mates, who have always shown me to have important values in this fantastic Italy group we belong to.

“Like any great mistake, I accept the consequences. And it is only right that I take responsibility. I must ask offer my apologies from my heart to everyone.”

Ventura played down the incident even before the former Southampton player had apologised.

“Pellè was angry, I think this was not so much because of the substitution as the way we had played up to that point,” he said.

Italy’s veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was also prepared to forgive and forget. “He’s a great guy and in the cold light of day, I’m sure he will realise he was wrong,” said Buffon. “If he apologises for his behaviour, we will be happy to embrace him. It was wrong but these things happen in such tense matches.”

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