Simone Zaza has revealed for the first time the “suffering” that has haunted him since his penalty miss for Italy against Germany in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
Zaza received widespread condemnation for the way he blazed over his spot-kick, his bizarre run-up quickly becoming an internet meme, and the West Ham striker confessed it left him “in a bad place” for the rest of the summer.
“The penalty made me suffer a lot, I’ve always thought about it,” he told Rai Sport.
“I had an unhappy summer, even today I think about it, although not as much as I did.
“The teasing and criticism wasn’t a burden, but rather the displeasure of having destroyed something that had been created that month in France.
“I’ll never forget the things that happened after, the speeches, the tears from everyone. They’re things that will stay inside of me, regardless of how my career goes.
“No-one gave us a chance and we were showing Europe that we were really strong.
“I know from so many of my former teammates that no-one wanted to meet us, so to go out on penalties was really bad and I couldn’t clear my mind in the months that followed.
“I was in a bad place and even my parents, girlfriend and friends were worried about me.
“Conte? I saw him in England when we played Chelsea. After the game, I greeted him and we talked a little bit, but not about that penalty.”