It’s an end of an era as far as the Italian national side is concerned.
Failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 has seen a whole host of senior players retire from international duty as well as the sacking of manager Gian Piero Ventura.
When the Azzurri begin qualifying for the 2020 European Championships after next summer’s World Cup, they will look very different to the squad that lost to Sweden over two-legs in their playoff clash.
While Gianluigi Buffon hogged all of the headlines with him playing his final match for his country, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli also announced their retirement immediately after the match.
But there was another player that was being talked about as Italy could only draw 0-0 with Sweden, failing to overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first-leg.
That man was Daniele De Rossi.
De Rossi also called time on his Italy future at full-time but wasn’t called upon by Ventura during the match. Well, he was called upon but he ‘politely’ suggested that the coach should be bringing on Lorenzo Insigne instead - something which didn’t happen either.
De Rossi earned a lot of plaudits for his honesty and a report has since emerged of him going onto Sweden’s team coach after the game to congratulate them and apologise for the Italian fans booing their national anthem before the match.
What a hero.
And another story has emerged which shows just what a great person De Rossi really is.
According to Gazzetta World, the midfielder gave away his World Cup winner’s medal to Italy’s former kitman.
Pietro Lombardi, who was the kitman when Italy won the 2006 World Cup, was nicknamed ‘The Toothbrush’ because of his qualities at cleaning players’ boots.
That nickname alone tells us just how loved he was by all of the players in the national side - especially De Rossi.
What De Rossi did with his World Cup winner's medal
So, when Lombardi passed away last year, De Rossi decided to place his most prized item in the coffin with him.
The Italian newspaper reported at the time: "On Wednesday morning, De Rossi finished his training rather hurriedly and went off as if he had another important engagement. He went to Florence to attend the funeral of Pietro Lombardi, the former Italy kitman, who had passed away aged 92.
"He left training in the morning and put his World Cup winner's medal in his pocket before driving to Florence. There, he greeted his friend for the final time and put his most valuable possession into the coffin."
What an incredible gesture from a player that has won 117 caps for his country.
He’s certainly left the international scene is a very classy way.
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