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Marco Nasti has been booted out of the Italy Under-21 squad for allegedly breaking his team-mate’s nose. The Azzurri are gearing up for clashes against Norway, San Marino and the Republic of Ireland over the coming days, and their intra-team altercation will not have helped manager Carmine Nunziata’s preparation.
It emerged on Friday morning that Nasti, 20, had been dismissed from the U21 training camp for disciplinary reasons. Nunziata kept his cards close to his chest when pressed on exactly what had transpired behind the scenes.
According to Italian news outlet ANSA, Nasti was forced to withdraw from the squad after punching team-mate Matteo Ruggeri in the face. The blow is believed to have landed the Atalanta winger with a broken nose.
Addressing the alleged incident on Instagram, Nasti wrote: “I have already apologised privately, but I want to do it here too.
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“I have great respect for the values of sport and the blue shirt. I am very sorry for what happened during the national team’s retreat, this must be and will be an opportunity for growth for me.”
Nasti came through AC Milan’s youth system and he remains on the books at the San Siro. The striker spent last season on loan at Serie B side Cosenza, and he has returned to the second tier for another temporary stint, this time with Bari.
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So far this campaign, Nasti has notched two goals in nine appearances. Ruggeri, who he is alleged to have punched, is already a regular with Atalanta in Italy’s top division. It remains to be seen how the rumoured incident affects Nasti’s prospects of returning to the Italy U21 set-up.
His dismissal comes at a turbulent time for Italian national team bosses, with senior squad members Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo both ruled out of upcoming matches after being questioned by police over alleged betting offences.
A statement released by the Italian Football Federation read: “The Federation communicates that the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office notified investigation documents to the players Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo, currently in training with the national team at the Federal Technical Centre of Coverciano.
“Regardless of the nature of the acts, believing that in this situation the two players are not in the necessary condition to face the commitments scheduled in the next few days, the Federation has decided to allow their return to their clubs, even at protection of the same.”
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