Cesare Prandelli defended the Code of Ethics, sees a new Antonio Cassano and warns Italy is a country “divided on everything.”
The Italy Coach spoke at a Press conference on the first day of training for the World Cup and was immediately confronted about his decision to call Giorgio Chiellini after a three-match ban for elbowing Miralem Pjanic.
“I had a dream,” smiled Prandelli. “I dreamed there were three teams who were torn apart in the media and by referees for elbowing each other and we, immaculate, went forward. It was wonderful. I thought ‘finally, a team that plays football!’
“I repeat, I viewed the footage of the Chiellini incident again and again, so for me it is not a violent gesture. He was trying to extend his position in the wall. I hope the controversy will die down.
“On the code of ethics I take the example of two years ago. Mario Balotelli was in England and received a two-match ban, I called him and nobody was scandalised.
“In Italy we are divided on everything. Everyone is united only by their desire to attack the institutions. As Federation and I as a Coach can be considered institutions.
“In all seriousness, the moment I decide to implement the code of ethics it is shared by my players. The instrument you journalists have in your hands should be used in a more balanced way.”
The Code of Ethics was also introduced to deal with hot-headed players, but have Balotelli and Cassano calmed down now?
“There was a lot of focus on Cassano today, but I found Antonio to be relaxed. He put himself back up for the challenge and he won. At that age, he realised it was his last chance.
“If we all become the top fans of this team, then we’ll have a strength that no other side has. We must learn to sustain pressure and not react. If there are players who put themselves before the team, then we’ll have a huge problem. We have to work for the collective, not for personal gain.
“They must remember that it takes a few minutes to make your mark. All 23 players are a potential resource in the World Cup, for five or 90 minutes.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!