Giorgio Chiellini insists he did not purposefully elbow Miralem Pjanic. “I was just trying to block him.”
The Juventus defender was in the wall awaiting an Andrea Pirlo free kick when caught on camera raising an elbow to Pjanic’s face in the 1-0 win over Roma.
“It was a manly game with some determined challenges from both sides,” Chiellini told Mediaset Premium and Sky Sport Italia.
“I apologised to Pjanic for the contact, but there are no problems between us. In games like this I’ve given a few knocks and received quite a few as well.
“I wasn’t trying to elbow him, as I was just trying to block him from moving out of the wall, the same way you do in basketball. We were jostling each other, the referee saw and evaluated everything.
“You can’t say that just glancing by someone is the same as punching them in the face. People are trying to build up controversy that doesn’t exist.”
Nonetheless, the incident could be put forward as video evidence for the Disciplinary Commission with the risk of a three-match ban.
It also threatens to break Cesare Prandelli’s Code of Ethics for the Italy squad ahead of the World Cup.
However, if the referee did indeed evaluate it and write this into his report, then video evidence becomes inadmissible.