Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi are not necessarily competing for a single place in Italy’s World Cup squad, says Cesare Prandelli.
The two strikers both made the 56-year-old’s 30-man provisional squad for the summer tournament named earlier this week, with the assumption in the media that should Rossi prove his fitness, it will be to Cassano’s detriment.
However, their Coach has explained that calling up both remains a possibility, whilst he has also reflected on why Fiorentina’s hitman made the cut despite only just returning from a five-month injury lay-off.
“I called Giuseppe Rossi because four-and-a-half-months ago, before the injury, he was top scorer in Serie A and remained so even a few weeks after getting hurt, a sign that he was achieving something extraordinary,” Prandelli has told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week.
“His call is a message for everyone - if one wants something and fights for that thing, they deserve a chance. It is a little like what Marcello Lippi did with Totti in 2006. Rossi is a champion in his behaviour, but it does not mean that he will be safely among the 23.”
“Cassano? When a player is able to redevelop in a positive way and get back to playing then it is as if they have cancelled out all the negativity.
“The numbers are the numbers - beyond his pride and his motivation, during the implementation phase and the recent tests, Cassano was a few yards ahead of the others.
“Perhaps he could play as a centre-forward, but I really like a false nine, even with Balotelli. Donadoni has done well to build around this role.
“Cassano or Rossi? Nobody is tied to anyone, we will now have 10 days of physical work form which I expect also scientific answers, without having to rely only on feeling.
“Maybe both will come - I do not exclude anyone.
“What older player would be my wild card? Easy, Totti. I thought about him, before his injury he had been extraordinary. Then the younger players exploded and the future is theirs.”
The CT considered further some of his other inclusions in the provisional squad.
“Verratti? We were the first to believe in him and now he has two years of experience in the Champions League. I always ask not to determine him to a certain role, because at PSG they have are other players.
“Paletta? He had a strong desire to play with Italy and after watching his performances, we realised that in his role between him and our younger players there was a difference. Yes, he has recently dropped having had flu, but he is now recovering.
“Candreva cannot be considered as among the attackers. Insigne up to a year ago everyone felt could be a second striker worth 10-12 goals.
“But this year he has adapted to become even a midfielder and in fact has become an alternative to Candreva. Perhaps the choice will be between him and Candreva.
“Immobile? Up to 10 months ago nobody considered him, he stubbornly has become a protagonist. His future? He could be going to a team that plays in the Champions League [Borussia Dortmund], and for his stock there is no limit, indeed. Otherwise, he should stay in Italy.
“The uncertainty over his future does not affect things - he could resolve everything before the World Cup, whilst during the World Cup he can think only about the World Cup.
“Is he in competition with Destro? They could both go. No central striker? It is part of the change in football, it is a principle in which I am convinced.
“We do not want to give references, we want to mislead, otherwise I would have called Gilardino and Toni.”
Prandelli was asked about the discussion that his 30-man squad has prompted, both on those who have made the cut and those who have not.
“All the choices are up for debate - we have called these 30 after analysing the season and reading the results of the physical tests.
“There were young players who put themselves on display, the majority focus from the CT is in this direction and it would be wrong to think to rejuvenate after the World Cup - these will be a very challenge 40 days, delicate in recovery and prevention, in which it will be necessary to expend energy.
“I did not talk to those excluded? I did not want to do that. The last time at Coverciano for the physical tests I had all 41 of them and told them: ‘I will not call up those excluded to alert them’.
“It seemed right to do so in the dressing room because why would you say to a player ‘you are not going to the World Cup’? It is not only embarrassing, but more.
“I want to say that I am very sorry for Diamanti and Giaccherini - I know that they are disappointed, I want to thank them. And add to those two Zaza, who only has to believe more in himself.”
Domenico Criscito and his agent were most notable in his reaction to not making the cut.
“Criscito? That was a technical choice and with all due respect, I have not left at home Cabrini or Paolo Maldini.”