As the European Championship draws near, over the past week-end Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli revealed his preliminary list of 32 players from which the final 23 who will be making the trip to Poland/Ukraine this Summer.
There were several surprises, such as newcomers Mattia Destro (Siena), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), and Ezequiel Schelotto (Atalanta), but also “old-timers” who despite their vast amount of experience have not featured yet under Prandelli’s reign: Rubin Kazan defender Salvatore Bocchetti, Bologna’s Alessandro Diamanti, and Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale.
The biggest surprise however comes perhaps from a man currently plying his trade in Serie B: Pescara’s Marco Verratti. Often categorized as “the new Pirlo” by his fans, the player is under heavy talk of a transfer to Juventus next season, and altough many doubts remain at his inclusion in Prandelli’s final list of 23, he could provide that “fresh spark” which has been somewhat missing from the Azzurri during the past few years.
Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna, another Serie B alumnus, also made the list.
Notable exclusions feature Inter’s Gianpaolo Pazzini & Genoa’s Alberto Gilardino (both of which haven’t exactly had great seasons), Roma’s Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (who had featured in practically all of Prandelli’s call-ups so far and had a decent year with Roma, at least initially), as well as Juventus players Alessandro Matri (who dropped in form since the new year) and Simone Pepe.
In addition, goalkeeper Federico Marchetti was left out in favor of Emiliano Viviano, Salvatore Sirigu and Morgan De Sanctis, to provide back-up for the irreplaceable Gigi Buffon.
Not to mention of course, Giuseppe Rossi, who will spend all Summer sidelined with a knee ligament injury. A real shame for “Pepito”, who would have certainly made the trip otherwise.
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The final list of 23 players, as per UEFA regulations, will be unveiled by a FIGC press release within 12:00pm on May 29th.
|Morgan DE SANCTIS||Napoli|
|Salvatore SIRIGU||Paris SG|
|Ignazio ABATE||AC Milan|
|Salvtore BOCCHETTI||Rubin Kazan|
|Daniele DE ROSSI||Roma|
|THIAGO MOTTA||Paris SG|
|Antonio NOCERINO||AC Milan|
|Mario BALOTELLI||Man City|
|Antonio CASSANO||AC Milan|
|Antonio DI NATALE||Udinese|