Cesare Prandelli commented on Francesco Totti and Antonio Cassano’s World Cup chances, but asked Mario Balotelli for “respect.”
The Italy Coach spoke to Rtl Radio about preparations for the tournament in Brazil, where they’ll face England, Costa Rica and Uruguay.
“The sensations are all good and logistically things are going well. There are four teams who are the favourites, then many others.
“We want to arrive at the competition in good physical and psychological shape, because we have a particularly tough group.
“We are not afraid, as we already experienced the climate at the Confederations Cup last year and know the difficulties we will be going into.”
The campaign to get Cassano back into the Italy squad following his Parma performances is gaining momentum.
“We had two good years with Antonio in terms of results. We had a great Euros, then decided to ‘test out’ other players. Others have indeed stalled their progress a little.
“Over the last few months he is proving to be in good shape, both physically and psychologically, so my choices will exclusively be technical in nature,” noted Prandelli.
“If there was something to say or clarify about his behaviour, then we did that at the right moment. I will only evaluate the technical aspect of the player.”
The same goes for Roma captain Totti, who at the age of 37 could come out of international retirement.
“I find it enormously pleasing that a great champion, one of the best in the post-war period, gives the Italy Coach the opportunity to think of him.
“Before his injury, Totti had an extraordinary physical condition and he is now finding it again. He said that obviously a decision will only be made after verifying his fitness levels, so it’s not just a technical issue. After all, nobody can doubt Totti’s credentials.
“It’s true his age is what it is, even though he is proving he can sustain the tempo of a match. In Brazil it’ll take something more. We will evaluate his fitness levels.”
Balotelli’s physique is not the issue, as currently Milan are struggling and he is showing signs of buckling under pressure.
“Perhaps all our expectations are too high,” continued Prandelli. “Everyone thinks that Balotelli has to do something extraordinary or unthinkable every time he gets the ball.
“What I can advise Mario is that he should have great respect for all those around him and all the people he works with.
“When a player is generous on the field, he can be forgiven anything. If he wants some advice in the last few months of the season, I’d say he needs to focus only on being generous to people and that is all.”