Wednesday March 5 2014
Paletta: 'Happy for Italy debut'

Parma defender Gabriel Paletta was “happy with my debut, but a little sad at the result” of Spain-Italy.

He won the Under-20 World Cup with Argentina, playing alongside Leo Messi, but tonight made his impressive Azzurri bow in a 1-0 friendly defeat.

“I am happy with my debut, but a little sad at the result,” said the 28-year-old on Rai Sport.

“I settled in well from Monday and the rest of the lads gave me a warm welcome. I have Italian roots, as my family hails from Catanzaro.”

Cesare Prandelli complained that the difference in fitness levels between Italy and Spain was “almost embarrassing,” but Paletta has another explanation.

“More than anything else Spain make the ball run for them. That is how they manage to keep their fitness levels so solid, as they don’t have to run that much.

“I think the whole defence did well. Spain only scored with a lucky ricochet in the box and overall we defended very well.”

Paletta is famous for drawing caricatures of his Parma teammates, which were released as a calendar to raise money for charity, but insists he didn’t make any of his new Italy companions.

“I did them my first year at Parma, making some postcards as a joke and then we turned them into a charity calendar.”

You can watch Serie A live on your PC this week in the UK and the USA