Tuesday morning in a press conference in Rome, the Azzurri coach announced his pre-selection for Euro 2008: 24 players (4 less than what everyone anticipated, and 1 to be trimmed down before May 28) which will be representing Italy in this Summer’s great European tournament.
So without further ado, here are the “elected”:
|Morgan De Sanctis||Sevilla|
|Fabio Cannavaro||Real Madrid|
|Daniele De Rossi||Roma|
|Alessandro Del Piero||Juventus|
|Antonio Di Natale||Udinese|
|Luca Toni||Bayern Munich|
So yeah, as you can see the never-ending issue “Del Piero vs. Cassano, which one to pick?” ended with the Don… selecting both. For Italy, I guess that can only be a positive thing: more talent to spare. We can only hope that the Sampdoria forward will keep the potential “Cassanata” locked in a drawer. Other stuff worth the mention is the non-selection of Filippo Inzaghi & Massimo Oddo (technical choice) as well as that of Vincenzo Iaquinta (injury).
In addition, Donadoni picked 24 players (i.e. 1 more than necessary) to begin pre-Euro training on Sunday, meaning one of them will have to leave the group on May 28 (date when the final lists have to be submitted to UEFA). In all likelihood, that player will either be Riccardo Montolivo (more likely) or Alberto Aquilani (less likely): despite the Fiorentina player’s recent run of form, Aquilani’s just been with the Azzurri group longer (albeit playing less and less with Roma recently).
Here’s what Roberto Donadoni had to say in his press conference (source: Gazzetta):
“There are no reserves: these are 24 players, playing for a place. No decision has yet been taken, that wouldn’t be good for anybody. I put myself in the players’ shoes, it wouldn’t be nice to know that you’re in the 24 but then you’ll go back home. Everyone should feel in the same situation.”
BREADWINNERS – Donadoni hasn’t forgotten those who contributed to getting the national side into the final phase. “Those who are here have earned it. Others aren’t present, like Inzaghi and Oddo. For Pippo it’s not about his age, but purely a technical choice. I’m sorry for Oddo, who has been affected by an injury. It’s simply a physical situation. I believe that those who will be coming have displayed great commitment. In these two years, the team has proved something, playing in a certain way. But it can also change tactics, as has happened. The players need to feel that they are responsible.”
INZAGHI DISAPPOINTED – Pippo believed in it right to the end, then came the sad truth. “I am disappointed, above all on a personal level,” Inzaghi explained via the official Milan website. “I started this two years trying to build a positive relationship, frank and genuine. Among other things, I scored the first goal under the new manager, against Lithuania in Napoli. But seeing as goals aren’t the only thing which count in football, I thought I had displayed loyalty and commitment to the project, and to my relationship with the boss, both travelling to away games without playing, and accepting the call-up for the Faroe Islands last summer, in a European qualifier which offered three points just like all the others.”
The rossonero is bitter: “Then, silence. Despite my performances with Milan in all competitions, and my goals, 18, scored both in the winter and in April and May. Evidently my injury during the club season was sufficient to mean that I didn’t even deserve a phone call, to end what I had thought was an adult and mature relationship. I’m sorry I was mistaken, my sincere good wishes to the Azzurri for the European Championships.”
ANTONIO’S CHANCE – Donadoni also wanted to clarify his thoughts on Cassano: “Antonio isn’t a gamble. Enough talk of gambles, that’s OK at 16, 17, 18 years old. But the time for gambles is over. He has a great opportunity now, he knows what it means to be part of this group, and he will adapt himself to it. (…) I don’t want to think about the past any more,” the Azzurri manager confirmed. “I’m not very interested in what Cassano has been and done up to now. He needs to start again from scratch. Like everyone. Even those who have won something have to start over again. We have major task ahead and we must concentrate on this. If we live on memories then we will trigger negative reactions. He is part of a group of players who know one another, and as for what he can give in technical terms, I know very well. I wanted a complete squad.”
In search of the realisation of another dream. “There is no minimum objective. When we arrive on the pitch for the first match, we will try to win it, and so on for each game.”
ALE – On to the subject of Del Piero, Donadoni was clear: “Ale hasn’t surprised me. I already know the abilities of each individual player. Del Piero had a period of physical problems, and once these were overcome he was back to displaying the qualities he has.”
CONTRACT – Aside from Euro 2008, Abete has settled the situation with Donadoni: a two year contract (up to and including the next World Cup). The agreement includes a free and reciprocal annulment clause, which can be activated to end the agreement within 10 days of the end of the European Championship. “I would like to thank President Giancarlo Abete for his recognition of my work. If Euro 2008 goes badly, I shall leave, there will be no need for the annulment clause,” Donadoni concluded.
Go bad? Let’s all hope that it won’t huh?
You can further discuss the selections at BigSoccer.com here.