Italy boss Cesare Prandelli says under-fire Gigi Buffon will remain as captain, while he’s defended the exclusions of Mario Balotelli and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.
Buffon is in the middle of a storm after the goalkeeper’s comments regarding the Sulley Muntari goal that was not awarded in Saturday’s 1-1 draw between Milan and Juventus.
The custodian palmed the ball away, but only after it had crossed the line. He admitted after the game that he wouldn’t have told the referee that the goal should have stood if he had realised it was over.
“I haven’t thought about taking the armband away from Buffon,” Prandelli stated on Monday. “Absolutely not.”
There have been some calls for Buffon to be stripped of the captaincy or even dropped from the set-up altogether.
“I don’t think Gigi needs any kind of defence,” the Coach continued.
“I’m more convinced than ever that during games and straight after them, players have so much competitive tension that they can’t favour a referee if they have any kind of doubt.
“Two or three days after the incident, everyone can say that the ball was in or not, but we can’t expect a player who is unsure to help the referee during such an important incident.”
Two players who haven’t been selected for Wednesday’s USA game are Balotelli of Manchester City and Roma's Osvaldo – strikers whose recent dismissals break Prandelli’s code of ethics.
“It’s three months that I’ve been saying that I want to arrive at the European Championship with a prepared squad,” the former Fiorentina tactician continued.
“I don’t want a player, because of a reaction on the field of play, to leave my team down to 10 men.
“In my head, Balotelli is in my first team for the European Championship, but now he needs to demonstrate some consistency in his behaviour. I don’t want to see reaction fouls.
“Balotelli and Osvaldo know my telephone number, they are aware that I am at their disposal and I’ll await their phone call.”
Roma’s Daniele De Rossi is part of the squad for the Marassi test, but he was dropped by Roma for their 4-1 defeat to Atalanta yesterday after arriving late for a team meeting.
“I’m with Roma boss Luis Enrique all of the way,” Prandelli argued. “Everyone of us must abide by rules. It’s madness even talking about it.
“It’s a rule within the Roma squad. I know that it would have disappointed De Rossi, but I’m sure that the young players at Roma won’t be late for the next five years.”