Daniele De Rossi has admitted he thought about quitting the World Cup after his four-match ban for elbowing Brian McBride.
The Roma star was punished for a nasty incident in The Azzurri's 1-1 draw with United States in Kaiserslautern, but returned in time for the final win over France to score in the penalty shoot-out.
De Rossi has now broken his silence over his experience in Germany, revealing that he contemplated leaving Marcelo Lippi's squad after receiving the punishment that he felt was overly harsh.
"At that moment I thought of quitting the World Cup, luckily my team-mates helped me overcome that trauma," De Rossi told Il Romanista.
"That's why I say that the World Cup was a sensational adventure.
"I felt the need to keep quiet after the tournament.
"When I speak to journalists, I like to do it in an open and honest way, but with everything that had been said and written about the McBride incident, I didn't feel relaxed answering questions."
De Rossi admits elbowing the Fulham striker, but says the incident has had a positive impact by making him play with more consideration for his opponents.
"It was an elbow. It was the first violent episode of the tournament and there was a lot of blood on McBride's face," De Rossi continued.
"If we want to see the positive face of the situation I can say it helped me play in a more careful manner."
De Rossi was roundly criticised following the game, but the Roma midfielder believes the nature of the occasion blew the incident out of proportion.
Indeed the Giallorossi star is convinced that a three-game ban would have sufficed.
"If I had done the same thing in the Coppa Italia or the Uefa Cup there wouldn't have been so many TV images.
"It could have been the biggest regret of my career but at the end I have been repaid for my difficult days.
"There have been some really hard days but luckily I had a group of sensational guys close to me.
"The disciplinary measure? They assured me I would have been banned for three games.
"I'm still convinced that four games is a bit too harsh."