There are reports circulating that Mario Balotelli was substituted following a row with Cesare Prandelli in Natal.
The striker was replaced at half-time in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, which sanctioned Italy’s World Cup exit.
The Coach explained he made the decision because he was “afraid we’d end up with 10 men.”
According to the ANSA news agency, Prandelli had originally told Balotelli to “change attitude or I’ll replace you after 10 minutes.”
The player responded with irritation and allegedly continued to complain throughout the break, both to the Coach and the others in the locker room, prompting Prandelli to make the substitution immediately.
His teammates were critical of Balotelli after that game, as Daniele De Rossi said “we need real men, not Panini stickers or characters.”