Ventura: “I apologise to the Italians.” Barzagli and De Rossi on their farewells: “A great disappointment”

Ventura: “I apologise to the Italians.” Barzagli and De Rossi on their

“At this moment I can only apologise to the Italians, not for the will or effort but for the result which as I know is the main thing,” said Gian Piero Ventura in the post-match press conference. “I arrived late because I wanted to say goodbye to the players one by one. Have I resigned? No, because I haven’t even spoken with the President. There’s an infinite number of things to evaluate, we’ll speak with the Federation, we’ll evaluate the situation.”

Before heading to the changing rooms, the Coach hugged Gigi Buffon who announced his international retirement along with De Rossi and Barzagli. “It was a very tough result from a sporting perspective, I was absolutely convinced that that we could do it and tonight’s match showed that there was a ferocious desire to go to the World Cup. I’m proud to have been part of the Azzurri group and to have worked with great players and other guys who I hope will become great players.”

Tribute was paid to the 70,000 fans at San Siro. “Tonight I again understood what it means to coach the National Team, I thank the crowd at San Siro who helped us and supported us until the final minute.”

Apart from Gigi Buffon, two other World Cup winners have brought successful careers to a close on a bitter note. “My adventure finishes here,” said De Rossi. “It’s a black moment for Italian football and a really dark one for us players who were a part of the past two years. The Federation now has an important job to start again from such a moment of painful disappointment. They’ll have to go again with the spirit that my teammates showed on the pitch tonight. We didn’t deserve to go out based on what was seen in those 180 minutes, but congratulations to them.”

After crying in front of the world when Italy went out on penalties to Germany in summer 2016 in the EURO 2016 quarter-final, Andrea Barzagli again had the look of someone who was recently brought to tears. “I think this is biggest disappointment of my life in football. The Italian National Team gives you unique sensations, you have goosebumps during the anthem as you’re united with the fans. It’s a shame to finish like that. The tears at the EUROs were an outlet, to leave like this is a tough blow for my career. With Gigi and Daniele [Buffon and De Rossi], we experienced the 2006 World Cup together but also with Giorgio [Chiellini] we went through a lot together. There has to be hope now. A cycle is finishing for four or five veterans and it starts again for the young guys and I hope they have the desire.”

Giorgio Chiellini was honest as ever in his assessment as he experienced one of the biggest disappointments as he moves close to 100 caps as he’s yet to make a decision about his future. “I don’t know if Italy will go again with Chiellini, the team will start again with a lot of guys born in the 1990s. In the end, we deserved to go out. I don’t cling to good or bad luck, we gave all that we had but it wasn’t enough. I believe that we need to start again with the love that Milan showed for the National Team tonight. After such a knockdown, there will be a lot of work to do.”

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