Daniele De Rossi spoke about his back injury and heated exchanges with Mario Balotelli ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2012 semi-final with Germany.
The midfielder was a major doubt to feature after he limped off during the quarter-final against England on Sunday night, but sat next to Cesare Prandelli in today's Press conference.
“Nobody wants to miss out on an Italy-Germany worth the Final of the Euros. All my teammates feel the same way and it would be a real shame to miss out due to a physical problem.
“It wasn’t 30 years ago, but 2006 was a different era. I wasn’t playing and there are few of us left from that tournament.
“It was a special night as everything pointed to a German victory, yet that wasn’t how it panned out. I see some similarities, as Italy aren’t beaten yet and could go into another historic night.”
De Rossi was asked how bad his injury really is if a ‘warrior’ like him could be forced on to the sidelines.
“It’s not about being a warrior or a hero, but simply a professional. You can see my desire to play not just in Italy-Germany, but even Roma-Triestina in the Coppa Italia. That is almost as painful for me to miss out on. Almost.
“It’s not just backache, there have been problems, but I am confident I can recover. Today’s training session will be important to see my condition and whether I am ready for tomorrow’s game, but I’ll do everything to be ready.”
Germany said that aim to ‘disarm’ Andrea Pirlo in the midfield tomorrow.
“It’s only normal that with a creative and genial player like Pirlo, the opponents will keep a special eye out for him.
“We will try to ensure they don’t ‘disarm’ Pirlo, but there are other players in the side who can hurt Germany. Pirlo has been the most consistently impressive.
“Germany have said they’ll put pressure on us, but the only way to counter that is with possession, something we’ve made a lot more of in recent years. It’s all about holding the ball and trying to find a way out, as otherwise you get pegged back.
“I enjoy playing for this Italy side, as we play good football, are organised and have some great talent, so you can’t not have fun. It is a privilege to be an important player in this squad.
“It’s true we should face every match with the same grit and determination, but that doesn’t happen and it is a problem. I can guarantee nobody will be lacking in concentration against Germany.”
De Rossi was asked about his rapport with Balotelli and whether he can give him advice, especially after they were spotted in a heated discussion during the England game.
“He is a member of the team, no more and no less. The Coach has a specific way of dealing with all of us, but he is our teammate and a lad like all the others. There’s so much talk about him, but he’s no different to anyone else.
“Maybe we raise the tone a bit during a match situation due to the adrenaline, the noise of the crowd and the distance between us, but these exchanges often happen.
“We talked things over when sitting side by side at the end of the first half and there was never any hint of a row. In fact, Mario played the second half better than the first and did really well.”
Miroslav Klose could start the semi-final, setting up a sort of ‘Rome derby’ between the Lazio striker and Roma midfielder.
“I don’t see it that way, as it’ll be a much more important game than the ones I played last season the ones I’ll play next year, seeing as Roma aren’t in Europe.”