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Panucci returns after spat with Roma boss Spalletti

Italian defender Christian Panucci has returned to the Roma squad for Sunday’s match at league leaders Inter Milan after being left out for refusing to sit on the bench, coach Luciano Spalletti revealed on Saturday.

“We’re making a fresh start with Panucci,” Spalletti said in a press conference at the club’s Trigoria training complex. “He’s done what he had to do. It took him a bit of time, but we’ve made up.”

On January 25 the 35-year-old Italy international demonstrated his anger at being named among the substitutes for the league match at Napoli by refusing to take his place on the bench.

He apologised to his team-mates and to the club’s directors and supporters a few days later but didn’t make amends with Spalletti until Friday.

“He’s a Roma player and we need to use all the resources at our disposal,” Spalletti continued.

“As far as I’m concerned, in cases like this it’s not Panucci or Spalletti who counts – it’s Roma.”

However, Spalletti was quick to add: “What he did yesterday (Friday), he should have done two days after (his refusal to sit on the bench).”

Despite his return to the squad, Panucci will not feature in Roma’s Champions League last-16 second-leg against Arsenal – who lead the tie 1-0 – as he was not registered to play in the competition by his employers.

Sat 28 February, 2009
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