AZZURRI

Italy team manager Lele Oriali is “optimistic” about their chances of reaching the 2018 World Cup. “Few believed we’d finish above Spain.”
Palermo and Macedonia striker Ilija Nestorovski can’t wait to take on Italy in Friday’s World Cup qualifier. “Winning is what matters.”
According to Brazilian media, Napoli midfielder Jorginho could receive a call-up from the Seleçao if Italy don’t give him a chance.
Italy are expected to start Bologna winger Simone Verdi rather than Antonio Candreva in a new 3-4-3 formation against Macedonia.
Gigi Di Biagio urged Italy’s Under-21 side to play against Hungary tomorrow “as if it wasn’t a friendly, as that’s how you grow.”
Roma have confirmed that Lorenzo Pellegrini can return to action in 10 days after a muscular injury.
Lorenzo Pellegrini assured “I’ll be there for the Napoli match” as he and Roma teammate Kevin Strootman arrived for scans.
Italy Under-21 Coach Luigi Di Biagio says it’s “useless” for youngsters to stay in Serie A if they don’t play.
Matteo Darmian assures there’s no negativity in the Italy camp - “we’re calm, we’re working well”.
Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian says the Premier League “isn’t another world” but “it’s more physical, a little less tactical”.
Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko reveals “I feel Italian” and hopes to emulate his sizeable impact on Serie A as a Coach.
Former Italy and Milan defender Cristian Zaccardo is being linked with a move to Maltese side Valletta.
Bologna’s Andrea Poli says he is ‘not thinking’ about a potential future return to the Italy squad.
Italy’s Simone Verdi ‘can only improve,’ according to Bologna sporting director Riccardo Bigon.
Torino President Urbano Cairo says Andrea Belotti is being “massacred” by defenders this season.
Albania and Lazio goalkeeper Tomas Strakosha will miss the Spain and Italy games with a muscular injury.
Simone Verdi doesn’t believe Spain have better youngsters than Italy, pointing to Federico Chiesa.
Marco Parolo says it’s “an obligation” for Italy to qualify for the World Cup.
Spezia have officially confirmed the signing of Alberto Gilardino, who will wear the number 10 shirt.
Atalanta midfielder Bryan Cristante admits he was asked to play for Canada, but waited for his first Italy call. “I’ll relish every minute.”
Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian will find it “emotional to be back at the Stadio Grande Torino” when Italy host Macedonia on Friday.
The Italian Football Federation unveiled its new logo this evening, including four stars representing Italy’s World Cup triumphs.
Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he will “rest for the next 10 months, so there will be no other teams” after he was fired by Bayern Munich.
Simone Zaza has found his form at Valencia, but is “upset” at being snubbed by Italy and regrets his West Ham move, said his father.
Former Juventus goalkeeper Alex Manninger said Gigi Buffon is “the best in the world, as he wrote the history books for our role.”