“Do I feel like a leader?” says Insigne, who played his first international match nine years ago and scored nine goals in 42 matches, including five under Mancini. No, just older.” About four years ago, then Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura refused to include Insigne as a substitute in the match that ended in a goalless draw with Sweden in the qualifiers for the World Cup Russia 2018.
That move sparked great indignation against the four-time World Cup winner, after that draw led to his absence from the finals for the first time since 1958. That night in San Siro, specifically on November 13, 2017, when former world champion Daniele De Rossi was asked to warm up To enter alternately, he pointed to Insigne and angrily asked, “Why did I enter? We don’t need a draw, we need a win.”
At the time, Insigne was shining with Napoli, having scored 20 goals in all competitions during the previous season. But he was not in Ventura’s strict tactical calculations, and did not participate in the match that night, after a terse appearance in the first leg. Since being called up to the Azzurri squad under Cesare Prandelli in 2012, Insigne has been present in every Italian coaching squad since then, but he has not been considered a key player.
During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he was only a spectator when Italy were eliminated from the group stage, and he did it during the 2016 European Cup under Antonio Conte when Italy lost on penalties to Germany in the quarter-finals.
At Naples, where he has scored 109 goals in nearly 400 appearances since 2010, the 2020-2021 season has been a mixed bag for Insigne. He scored 19 goals in the league, his highest scoring level in “Serie A”, but he missed a penalty kick in the Italian Super Cup final that Juventus won, and was a witness to Napoli’s loss of the ticket to qualify for the Champions League next season. Nevertheless, he found his place in the Italian national team along with his old friend, Lazio player Ciro Immobile, who also scored against Turkey to raise his score to 14 international goals.