First and foremost, can we just appreciate the understated brilliance of Daniele De Rossi.

117 caps after making his debut for Italy, the legendary midfielder has retired from international duty after Gian Piero Ventura's side failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It was a hugely disappointing end to his international career and to add insult to injury, De Rossi didn't go quietly and was left furious at the decision to leave striker Lorenzo Insigne on the bench.

When asked to warm up, a frustrated De Rossi said: "Why the hell should I go on? We don't need to draw here, we need to win!"


Credit: Rai Sport .

The decision to not bring on Insigne was certainly controversial and many, including teammate De Rossi, voiced his opinion on the matter.

Now, the 34-year-old has apologised to anyone who was offended by his actions, but seriously Daniele, there is no need to say sorry. It was a moment of brilliance:

"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 .

"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."

In addition to his apology, the Roma midfielder told RAI via ESPN in the post match interview:

"It's a dark moment for our football, very dark for those of us who were part of this two-year era. There will be the time to evaluate everything, but I think the only thing I can say now -- which is banal -- is to build on the spirit the lads showed today and the desire to take part in this adventure.

"We will begin again, just as we did after other desperately disappointing moments. I don't believe we deserved to go out considering the 180 minutes, Sweden deserve credit for their performance, but it was fairly even.

"Now the next generation is ready to take flight and we must begin again from them. It was almost an absurd moment to associate with a football match. There was a funereal atmosphere in the locker room, yet nobody died.

"I've been wandering around Coverciano [the training ground] and all over the world with this shirt for over a decade, so to take it off for the last time is a strange feeling. The material is there and we can build for the future."

Thoughts on De Rossi's actions during the game? Was he right to question the manager's decision?

Let us know in the comments.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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