Simone Zaza has apologised for letting Italy fans down with his bizarre penalty miss at the Euro 2016.
The Italy striker was second on the list to take a spot-kick after Germany held the Azzurri to a 1-1 quarter-final draw in Bordeaux on Saturday night.
Zaza did not worry goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the slightest, however, as he blazed the ball over the bar after indulging an unorthodox run-up which resembled intensive jogging on the spot.
While Graziano Pelle also missed his penalty, meaning Italy fell 6-5 to Germany in the shootout, Zaza has been the target of widespread ridicule on social media ever since he made his eccentric attempt.
The 25-year-old Juventus player has now asked for forgiveness from the Italian public, insisting his embarrassment will haunt him for the rest of his life.
In an Instagram post, he wrote: “Beyond apologising, I must add that I’m sorry to have disappointed all the fans who celebrated, who believed in us, and who ultimately suffered because of this team.
“I take responsibility as I always have and move forward, knowing that we’ve made Italy proud.
“I would like to thank all the people who have supported me after this incident, understanding that I didn’t mean to mess up like I did – I must emphasise that.
“I’m also a fan of the national team so in addition to being disappointed, sad and angry with myself, I am proud that we have helped to rekindle the country’s passion for football.
“What happened will follow me around for a lifetime.
“It was most important moment for the team, and for me, and I failed. But that’s how football is.
“Once again, I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, France midfielder Paul Pogba said he felt sorry for his Juventus team-mate Gianluigi Buffon after Italy were knocked out of Euro 2016 on Saturday.
“I am very happy to be in the semi-final, I cannot moan,” Pogba told reporters.
“A semi-final is a semi-final, Italy and Germany are equally tough. Either way, we want to continue so we want to win and both are great sides.
“To see Buffon crying made me feel very bad though. He is a great goalkeeper… Italy produced a very good game.
“They have had a fantastic Euros, nobody expected such a great Italian team.”
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