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Tuesday April 8 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: T. Motta

Has Thiago Motta’s form of late for Paris Saint-Germain earned him a place at the World Cup? Anthony Alborino believes so.

Competition for places in Cesare Prandelli’s midfield is fierce, and while seasoned campaigner Thiago Motta may be pushing hard for a seat on the plane to Brazil with good club form, an injury-troubled past could damage his selection chances.

Following his unceremonious exit from the peninsula in the summer of 2012, when he joined the raft of Serie A players switching allegiances to nouveau-riche Ligue 1 juggernauts Paris Saint-Germain, many had expected that Motta would fall off the radar slightly, especially with respect to his opportunities of a national team call-up.

The 31-year-old Sao Paulo native made his bow for the Azzurri in a friendly against Germany in February 2011, becoming the latest Oriundo to pull on the coveted blue jersey, and he went on to make 12 further appearances for La Nazionale before he left Inter for the French capital just over a year later.

However, after his inclusion in the European Championship squad for Poland and Ukraine 2012, and his subsequent move, Motta was not called upon by Coach Cesare Prandelli for a very specific reason.

Having featured in four of his side’s games on their way to their final encounter with Spain, the Italo-Brazilian replaced Riccardo Montolivo in the 57th minute of the match. He only lasted for four minutes of the 4-0-showpiece defeat however, and limped off with a hamstring injury to leave the Azzurri one man short for the last half hour.

Motta then spent over a year in the international wilderness, being overlooked for national team duty in favour of Alberto Aquilani, Montolivo and Claudio Marchisio, among others. He was also left out of last summer’s Confederation Cup squad, and was made to wait until last September’s World Cup qualifying clash with Bulgaria to make his next appearance in an Italy shirt.

Despite playing just 184 minutes of Italy’s qualifying campaign though, Motta seems to have won his way into the Coach’s good graces, as he has been included in every squad selection since returning to the international fold. Prandelli’s previous reluctance to call upon a midfielder who has been notoriously injury prone in the past has been dispelled by a consistently high level of performance for club side PSG.

The battling midfielder certainly has quality in abundance. Two Champions League winners’ medals and four League titles in three different countries can attest to that, and he has quietly and effectively gone about his work once more in France.

As Les Parisiens march towards their second consecutive championship, Motta has proven pivotal, securing three goals, an assist, and an impressive 92.6 per cent pass accuracy in his 28 games. Along with his international teammates Salvatore Sirigu and Marco Verratti, the former Barcelona man is also one of only three Italians left competing in the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League.  

Expect experience and tactical versatility to play in his favour. Prandelli has experimented with him in the trequartista position in the past, and he is capable of playing almost anywhere in midfield.

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Have your say...
world class lazy wake up he can care less about azzurri the jogger is more like it....

and someone please xplain to me why are doing this 40 man fitness comp less than 60days before w cup bring in mancini or spaletti b4 its too late
on the 13th April, 2014 at 4:02am
No!!! Motta or Montolivo please "no" not in the Italy squad never. 2 of the slowest mids out there. Please look at Luca Cigarini or even francesco Lodi you wouldn't be dissapointed. 3/4/2/1 formation or 3/5/2 either way, Marchisio, Cigarini, Pirlo, Lodi, and Verratti. It doesn't have to be in that order but on a 352 formation it would be an awesome midfield of pure ball possession and lethal accurate passing which we haven't seen in our national side for a long time.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 2:41am
I agree with those who say he should play pushing De Rossi back into the middle of a back three. I think the midfield three should be Motta Pirlo Marchisio(Veratti).
on the 9th April, 2014 at 11:15pm
A agree with those who think he should be playing in midfield with Pirlo and Veratti/Marchisio and move Dan face punch Rossi to the middle in a back 3.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 7:51pm
He has slowed down but his size may be needed especially against a team like England-
on the 9th April, 2014 at 5:40pm
Aussie bob what are you talking about Motta works hard
for any team he plays for national or club. Stop being a idiot and learn football.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 4:47pm
Motta is an absolute must. He has always done well and played with his heart. He has shown that he is an Italian regardless where he was born. An excellent player and I am so glad he opted for the Azzurri shirt rather than Brazil's.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 1:38pm
Don't like this guy at all. I see him as lazy & plays with out passion. maybe because he aint a true Italian. If you watch him you never see any grit & he is always walking around the pitch in a daze. Leave him in France where he belongs.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 1:35pm
Either him or Diamanti on the plane Either way there both very talented players but no Aquilani wish you could have more than 23 players though
on the 9th April, 2014 at 12:59pm
Motta may hev very nice statistics backing his chances for a WC call, but he certainly doesn't have my support. The statistics are mainly based on him palying in a super squad in league of dubious qaulity. Whenever I've seen him play for Italy he alwasy looked out of depth to me. Unfortunately Prandelli will probably take him along with Monty and other poor players he likes. Why he hasn't blooded in Veratti the most promising CM Italy has is beyoned me.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 11:46am
He works hard for the team, and will do EXACTLY what the manager asks, no doubt, but in almost EVERY game I have seen him play for Italy, he has been a liability. Unfortunately, I am 99% sure Prandelli will pick him and at the cost of Italy I'm afraid. Motta is slow, fouls most of the time and seems to play without passion; almost too relaxed. Mistake prone. However, he'd feel at home in Brazil and could work as a good substitute should we need to close up shop. Overall, not impressed.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 9:34am
You lot are nuts Motta is average at best a very very poor mans Pirlo, I would rather see Veratti in squad if its a choice between those too who would you pick?
However I do feel he will go, not only that but will more than likely play to my confusion. Bad player who wont last 90 mins in the heat with his injured knees.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 9:10am
It is unfortunate that his name even crops up in the list of possible midfielders. He is utterly incapable of creating anything. Just like Montolivo, he's too slow on the ball. He spreads the play out entirely more often than through the middle, and he loses the ball far more than he can contain it (Verratti can shield the ball far better). I'm not interested that this joker is on PSG, he's useless to the team and there are far better players out there.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 8:07am
No!
on the 9th April, 2014 at 6:39am
@Sal, you couldn't be more right. Motta needs to be in the middle of the park, right in front of the defense and push De Rossi to a Center Back role. Motta is MUCH better on the ball and has greater passing qualities then De Rossi, Aquilani, Marchisio, Giach, etc. Giach for me is a bench player at thi point. The only player with greater qualities in the middle is Pirlo. Motta is a must-start in the middle of the field.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 9:33pm
"he all ways plays well for Italy."
Huh? What Italy games have you been watching? He is absolutely useless going forward and around the box. He is nothing more of a pivot point and lacks any sense of creativity or confidence to do anything with the ball other than pass it back a nanosecond after he touches it. Granted, he protects the ball reasonably well and is a adaptable midfielder (unlike monto)which comes in handy in tournaments. You need more than that from a starter with WC on the line
on the 8th April, 2014 at 9:13pm
Poor player for me! Also let us down in the final of euro 2012 ! 5 minute then injured if Prandelli is doing fitness test I would expect this guy to fail them, not to mention he gives the ball away a lot for me no no no! Better off with Ledesma (joke)
on the 8th April, 2014 at 8:40pm
Yes, he's worthy of it.

- Pirlo
- De Rossi
- Motta
- Marchisio
- Verratti
- Giaccherini
- Candrava
on the 8th April, 2014 at 8:00pm
Without a doubt he should be included. I would go as far as to say he should be in the starting 11 possibly allowing DeRossi to play in defense. Thats prob the only chance we have against Brazil or Spain in the quarters.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 6:31pm
Is there even a question? T. Motta is a world class midfielder who brings balance and calmness to the midfield. Absolutely brilliant player
on the 8th April, 2014 at 5:56pm
I think he should be on the plane, he all ways plays well for Italy and did well in euro 2012
on the 8th April, 2014 at 5:22pm

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