Antonio Conte has confirmed he will first meet with Andrea Pirlo before determining the midfielder’s future with his Italy.
The creative midfielder intended a year in advance to retire from international duty after the World Cup in Brazil, but following it indicated he would be open to a U-turn.
On from reiterating that message this week and hinting at his openness to work with his former Juventus boss, Conte has reciprocated.
“He is a champion and for me a great point of reference,” Conte has told reporters at his presentation as Italy Coach today.
“He is among those who are in contention, but it is inevitable that, given his statements after the World Cup, that we must talk to him to understand what he feels and also he must hear what I have to say.”
Conte was also asked if he was more concerned about Giuseppe Rossi’s situation than Mario Balotelli’s.
“Giuseppe Rossi is an important player, an asset. I hope that we can definitely resolve in a definitive manner his issues both for the good of Fiorentina and the national team. I hope to have him available.
“On individuals I do not want to comment. Anyone can be called, but to be called you have to earn it.
“I need to look at things in 360 degrees - both for what happens on the field and for what happens away from it. Before the footballer comes the man.”