Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne has revealed what he said to international teammate Daniele De Rossi following the defensive midfielder's spat with the coaching staff, after being told to warm up during Italy's 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in Monday's World Cup qualifier.
While Gli Azzurri were desperately searching for the night's all important opener, De Rossi was asked to take to the sidelines and begin preparations to play a part in the clash.
However, the 34-year-old took issue with the request, asking the reasoning behind his entrance rather than an attacker when the need for a breakthrough was so evident.
"Why the hell should I go on? We don't need to draw here, we need to win!", the Roma star replied, according to lip-reading reports.
While furiously responding to the request to loosen up, De Rossi pointed in the direction of fellow bench sitter Insigne, who has already found the back of the net five times for Napoli this season and created more key passes than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.
However, the 26-year-old was not given the chance to save his country's blushes, resulting in Italy failing to reach the World Cup finals for the first time in since 1958.
“I’m genuinely sorry that I can’t play in the World Cup, that’s it”, the striker told Neapolitan paper Il Mattino, as quoted by Calciomercato.
“I would have played in goal for La Nazionale, because this is a shirt which needs to be respected without hesitation.
“The Coach made a different set of decisions, he believed that those were the right players to take us to the World Cup. There is no problem: this shirt is a symbol, and I want to wear it for many more years.
“It doesn’t matter who plays, the decisions must always be accepted. I even did when I was used for only a minute.
“I thanked Daniele because he did something great, like a true leader who wants to help the team.”
However, in the fallout of the incident, despite Insigne's praise, De Rossi was quick to apologise for his actions.
But they must be good if Insigne, Belotti, De Rossi and El Shaarawy can't make the team?— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) November 13, 2017
“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.”
Since crashing out for the first time at this stage in nearly six decades, De Rossi has been joined by Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli in hanging up their boots from international football as well as boss Giampiero Ventura, who was relieved of his duties following his side's failure.