Valencia full-back Cristiano Piccini said his senior Italy debut is “a dream come true after so much hard work and so many sacrifices.”
He was a late addition to the squad after various injuries and came on during the closing stages of the 1-1 friendly draw with Ukraine.
“It’s a dream for every player to represent his country. I made that dream come true today after so much hard work and so many sacrifices,” Piccini told Rai Sport.
“We played Barcelona on Sunday evening, I woke up the next morning and received a message from Simone Zaza. It seems Italy didn't have my number, so he asked some of my Valencia teammates for it.
"I then got a call from the Italy team manager, they said I’d been called up and had a ticket booked.”
The 26-year-old came up through the Fiorentina academy, but played for Real Betis and Sporting CP before the move to Valencia this summer for €8m.
“I’ve been playing abroad for many years, so it’s very satisfying for me and for my family to see me play for Italy. It’s wonderful.”