Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has revealed why he opted to axe Domenico Criscito from his Euro 2012 squad.
The Zenit full-back was set to be in the Coach’s 23-man party until he was placed under investigation as part of the betting match fixing inquiry.
“I’m not taking Criscito because he would have been under the type of pressure that no human can cope with,” the tactician stated on Monday evening. “He’s just not calm enough.
“The other motive is that he could have been called up for questioning at any moment – even just before a game.
“For a few minutes I was unable to talk to him. When the emotion cooled, I just thought of his wife and his son.
“We need to give Mimmo the ability to defend himself, to show that he has done nothing wrong.”
Criscito was awoken by police at Italy’s training HQ in Florence when they handed him a warrant to search his room.
“I wasn’t aware of the raid at all,” Prandelli added. “What has happened is very damaging, especially to the young kids who support us.”
While Criscito is one of seven players to leave Coverciano today, Leonardo Bonucci is still there despite reports that he too could soon be asked to respond to questioning.
“Bonucci is calm, as we all are. He’s not received any official paperwork. If he’s OK tomorrow then he will be available for Euro 2012.”
This morning’s events are leading to comparisons with what happened in 2006 when the Azzurri formed a united squad to win the World Cup while the Calciopoli sporting trial changed Italian football’s landscape.
“Bad only comes from bad,” Prandelli noted. “But it’s only normal that in times of difficulty a squad comes together as it did in 2006. We’ll sort out the problems without hiding away from them.”
Turning to team matters, Prandelli still has two players to cut from his present squad of 25 before Tuesday’s noon deadline.
“I did think about taking six strikers with me,” he stated given that all six still remain. “I’m pondering what to do.”
He also assured fans that Juventus ‘keeper Gigi Buffon is fine after he didn’t take part in training this morning.
“Buffon had a muscle twinge. That is why he was rested, but it is nothing serious. It was just a precaution.”
Buffon did take part in this evening’s practice match.