Thursday October 12 2017
Zaza: 'I didn't ask to take penalty'

Valencia striker Simone Zaza called the Euro 2016 penalty miss for Italy “the worst moment of my career. I didn’t ask to take it.”

The forward was widely mocked for his spot-kick in a quarter-final shoot-out against Germany, above all for the stuttering run-up and finish well off target.

“That damn penalty…” he told Fox Sports in Italy.

“It was the worst moment of my career, above all for what happened afterwards. It was my fault, because I didn’t know how to react straight away to what had happened. I let myself get caught up in negativity. It’s in the past now.

“I didn’t ask to take the penalty. The truth is, over the years, I’ve not exactly been a great penalty-taker, but in training for the Nazionale, I had never missed… so I took one.

“I didn’t sleep for more than one night. I have to thank my girlfriend and my parents, who were close to me. Sooner or later, I will take another penalty.”

Zaza’s career took a downward turn after that with West Ham United, but since moving to Valencia, he has rediscovered his confidence and scoring touch.

Despite that, there is no place for him in Giampiero Ventura’s Italy squad.

“It’s natural I’d love to get back into the Nazionale, but if I haven’t been back so far, it’s because I didn’t deserve to. I must do more than what I’ve already done.

“There’s no point talking, because at the end of the day I don’t make the decisions, so I keep my head down and work hard.”