Friday April 4 2014
‘Italy’s players must feel honour’

Cesare Prandelli has reiterated the professional focus he wants from his Italy players, and defended recent comments on their physical condition.

The 56-year-old has come under criticism during his tenure as head Coach of the national team, for introducing a code of ethics that prohibits players from involvement with the Azzurri if they misbehave at club level.

Daniele De Rossi was the latest to fall foul of this system, missing the Spain friendly in March for having just picked up a three-game ban for an off-the-ball clash playing for Roma against Inter.

“I want players who feel honoured to wear the Azzurra shirt, because you have to win not only with technique but also with behaviour,” Prandelli has made clear to FIFA Weekly, in an interview released today.

“Someone who spits in the face of a rival or repeatedly simulates does not deserve to be called, regardless of how they play.

“De Rossi? I do not believe he will lose his character. Nobody has complained, not even Daniele, only a few Coaches.

“I do not like arrogance and the fact is that so many take it too seriously. In my day it was not so, and if we lost, the next day you did not leave your home in shame. We felt lucky to have so much at 20-years-old. We had easier lives.”

Prandelli, who also spoke in the interview of Italy’s chances this summer at the World Cup, had complained after the 1-0 defeat to La Roja of the ‘embarrassing’ fitness levels of his players.

“The speed of European football is not the same as in Italy. Traditionally in March we are in a good condition, but not this year.

“Should I remain silent? I am not criticising anyone, I do not know what the causes are. The objective should be to improve their condition - I have learned from the Confederations Cup that it is decisive.

“During the first two games, eight players asked to be substituted are 35 minutes because they were out of breath.”

Prandelli also commented on his role model for management and if he has ever considered working abroad, after recent links to Tottenham Hotspur.

“Giovanni Trapattoni has always been a model. He gave esteem to his players, even those that did not play. He maintained enthusiasm in every situation.

“Would I work abroad? I have thought about it, whilst Carlo Ancelotti told me that in two years at Chelsea he was never questioned by the fans.”

Prandelli lost his wife in November 2007, after a battle with cancer, and reflected in the interview on the impact that had.

“I wanted to be an architect, but my mother said ‘take the diploma, Cesare’. And I studied to be a surveyor.

“ I met my wife in Brescia when I was 18, she was 15 and from then we were always together until she died seven years ago.

“My wife always comforted me and the children even though she knew she was dying. She left on a Monday, the day when the players and Coaches rest.

“During her last moments there, we sat on the bed talking to her, because the doctors had explained to us that the last thing the terminally ill lose is their hearing.

“It allowed us the chance to say goodbye to her with composure. She was fantastic, I will never forget her.”