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Pelle sent home for 'disrespecting' coach

Published:Saturday | October 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Italy's Graziano Pelle (right) and Spain's Sergio Ramos jump for the ball during a World Cup Group G qualifying match between Italy and Spain, at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy on Thursday. The match ended 1-1.

TURIN, Italy (AP):

Italy forward Graziano Pelle has been removed from the team's squad for refusing to shake coach Gian Piero Ventura's hand after a substitution.

The incident occurred on Thursday in the second half of Italy's 1-1 draw with Spain in a World Cup qualifier.

The Italian federation says Pelle has been sent back to his club in China, Shandong Luneng, and will therefore miss tomorrow's qualifier at Macedonia.

Pelle apologised on Instagram for the incident, describing his behaviour as "unacceptable", adding that "it's fair that I take responsibility for what happened".

Meanwhile, Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon criticised Pelle's gesture, but believes the striker will be welcomed back into the squad.

"It wasn't a nice gesture," Buffon said. "Our philosophy is about unity of purpose, even if there are times when you can do something wrong out of anger.

"He'll realise his mistake and be welcomed back with affection, you can make one mistake in 10 years."