12 months ago, Graziano Pelle was wanted by Juventus, pretty well respected in the Premier League and Southampton, a club looking towards pushing for a Champions League qualification spot.
Now, the former Saints striker is a redundant player, who sold his soul for the mega bucks in the Chinese Super League, and has just been kicked out of Italy’s squad, and won’t take any part in Sunday’s game against Macedonia.
Pelle refused to shake his gaffer’s hand when subbed off, with Gianpiero Ventur clearly not taking too kindly to the public display of disrespect – depsite playing it down post-match:
“These things happen,”
“I think Graziano was more angry at himself and the way his performance went than anything else.”
That was clearly just a classic case of a manager not wanting to air their dirty laundry in public, but you can imagine Pelle got a rocket up his arse when back in the dressing room, given the statement from the FIGC, this morning:
“Being part of the national team involves the sharing of values of your teammates and the famous blue shirt.
“This starts with respect towards staff, teammates and supporters.
“The player will today return to his club.”
With a lot of spare time on his hands, this week, the former Parma man won’t be short of things to do, given the fact he earns a tidy £125,000-a-week.
Pelle makes our Chinese Super League best XI, but who else does?
GK – Zeng Cheng – Guangzhou Evergrande
101 appearances and counting for Guangzhou Evergrande. Won't be long before Gigi Buffon or Iker Casillas make the move to China and unfairly replace Cheng, you'd imagine.
DF – Rong Hao – Guangzhou Evergrande
Having spent his whole career in his homeland, the left-back is something of a national treasure.
DF – Hong Jeong-ho – Jiangsu Suning
Cleared of any wrongdoing in 2011 over match-fixing in the K League, despite the fact four million was deposited into his account from gangs. Lol. Left the Bundesliga, this summer, for a taste of Chinese Super League action.
DF – Stephane Mbia – Hebei China Fortune
The one-time mercenary at Queens Park Rangers, is now doing the same at Hebei China Fortune.
CM – Ramires – Jiangsu Suning
Has settled into Chinese life well, having been handed a four-match ban for being sent-off AFTER the full-time whistle. Good going, lad.
CM – Fredy Guarin – Shanghai Greenland Shenhua
Clearly the thought of playing with Demba Ba was too much to resist for the talented midfielder.
RW – Hulk – Shanghai SIPG
The prime example of a footballer who puts money before football. That being said, never been too sure if he's even that good - apart from a rocket of a strike on FIFA.
LW – Ezequiel Lavezzi – Hebei China Fortune
You know what? Lavezzi can get fucked. Honestly, out of all the footballers that have sold their soul to move to China, his move was the most 'WTF?!'.
CAM – Alex Teixeira – Jiangsu Suning
Wheyyyyyy remember when the Brazilian joined Liverpool?! That was amusing seeing the Reds losing their shit over the thought of signing the talented attacking-midfielder. Instead, he sacked them off and left Shakhtar Donetsk for the Chinese Super League.
ST – Obafemi Martins – Shanghai Greenland Shenhua
Only 31, and yet it feels like the former Newcastle United forward has been around longer than Ryan Giggs was overhyped. Sadly never reached the levels he promised to when a rising star at Inter Milan.
ST – Graziano Pelle – Shandong Luneng
The then-Southampton man's move to the Chinese Super League raised a few eyebrows. Impressing for the Saints and earning international recognition, it seemed a strange move to jeopardise all that. But then you realise that the striker is now the sixth-best paid footballer in the world!