Tuesday October 9 2012
Is Ranocchia Italy material?

Andrea Ranocchia is once again in the Italy squad. Adam Scime discusses the centre-back’s return to form and whether he deserves his latest Azzurri chance.

When Italy boss Cesare Prandelli released his selections for the national team ahead of their World Cup 2014 qualifying clashes against Armenia and Denmark, few will have been more satisfied than Andrea Ranocchia to be included in the 27-man list.

The 24-year-old defender has endured a chequered early part to his career. His breakout campaign on loan at Bari from Genoa in 2009-10 was halted by a season-ending knee injury, robbing him of contention for a place at the World Cup showpiece in South Africa, but that did not stop Inter from seeing his promise and snapping him up on a co-ownership deal just a few months later.

A year after, the Nerazzurri purchased the other half of his registration rights from Genoa, valuing the player at €19m in total and, despite some fine performances during his first half-season on the black-and-blue side of San Siro, his next was one perhaps better left forgotten.

Injury problems and poor form limited the stopper to just 15 appearances in all competitions. His performances were a mini-reflection of Inter’s 2011-12 – error prone, lacking quality and simply lost on occasion. He was anything but first choice under the Serie A side’s merry-go-round of Coaches that included Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri and Andrea Stramaccioni during that campaign, playing second fiddle to veterans Lucio, Walter Samuel and even Cristian Chivu at times.

As a result, despite featuring prominently on the road to Euro 2012 in qualifying, he was dropped for the Finals in Poland and Ukraine. That is the past though and he is now hitting higher notes once more for his club.

Following another solid performance as the 10-man Nerazzurri held off Derby della Madonnina rivals Milan – to keep a clean sheet and earn a precious 1-0 victory that keeps them joint-third place in the League – Ranocchia has now started every Serie A match this season and he’s also featured prominently in the Europa League. He is looking fitter, more confident and a better overall defender, especially in Inter’s new three-man backline.

“Is my positive start to the season a message for Prandelli? No, it’s for Inter,” he explained in September. “If I continue to play as well as I have been doing this season then maybe Italy will come calling for me again.”

And his statement was as accurate as some of his excellent challenges this season. The Azzurri CT has given him another chance to prove his worth.

While Ranocchia is fantastic in the air and has a well-developed understanding of how to defend, he does have his limitations. His struggles typically emanate from a lack of acceleration or from tight situations with the ball at his feet. His short-range passing can be inaccurate and his kicked clearances sloppy when he is not fully focused.

However, the player’s recall is a perfect example of Prandelli’s meritocracy pledge in full effect. When he was performing poorly, La Nazionale’s tactician made the decision to leave him at home. Now that he is threatening to become one of Serie A’s top defenders once again he has been given the chance to show what he can do for his country.

For those who clamour for the likes of defenders at the level of Franco Baresi, Fabio Cannavaro, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta, you should stop living in the past. Those types of near-flawless stoppers are simply not available on the current Italian football landscape. Prandelli works in the present and that, for now, means Andrea Ranocchia.

Have your say...
Ranocchia is easily the most talented Italian defender but he simply made a career mistake in choosing to join an Inter side that was increasingly becoming unstable. On the other hand you have Bonucci who is nothing special and very prone to mistakes but his career choice meant that he is a starter for Italy and an important figure for Juventus. If Ranocchia went to Milan for example, I am sure that the two would compliment each other, Inter did not need him, at least not now.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 4:07pm
If he was a player in Juventus he will be called even if he play half of his current performance because Juv have a big control on the media & Italian football in general. when you read the headlines about Juventus, it is always positive news written in a shiny way. But for Inter and his players it is the opposite and written in a very negative way.

Drugs, Referees manipulation & bidding scandals but still Juventus is very active in the media as a HERO ?
This is CORRUPTION in Italy
on the 11th October, 2012 at 4:58pm
I can see some typical juve fans condemn andrea inclusion in national team cos of been an inter player but remember injury play is part last season and not good enough in terms of consistence but this season he as put that apart and proved to be a better player by forming a solid combination with juan and look at goal they concede both home and away. He as also play in all inter match this season what wrong to criticize him instead to give him moral and support to grow and contribute to the team
on the 10th October, 2012 at 10:43am
Some italian players take years to grow, he has the potencial to be a partner for Bonucci in years to come, if he plays regular games at Inter because with regular games you can get the experience needed.
on the 10th October, 2012 at 7:26am
yes he should have his chance; why maggio is there?! to me Ranochia will prove himself. I agree with dSquib, about the real standards of defenders; Italy used to have world class defenders. Italy was the example of defence perfection; not anymore!
Adam! what is wrong with you? Is a post about Ranochia the best you could deliver? What about Prandelli's tactics? Prandelli's predictibility? Prandelli's starting line-up? is not that something to write about? I am pretty sure the man is worrying us!
on the 10th October, 2012 at 6:40am
"Those types of near-flawless stoppers are simply not available on the current Italian football landscape" -- so true. Many italian defenders are technically on par with maldini, cannavaro and nesta. But they're lack of concentration, calmness and.. intelligently, way below their predecessors.

As for ranocchia, he could be good.. but not great. He is no better than bonucci.
on the 10th October, 2012 at 5:17am
For me Ranocchia has taken a step back since joining Inter, though saying that he has started this season very well and deserves his call up.

I think he needed to be given the time to come back from such a bad injury and a tender age and playing for an Inter team on a downwards spiral did not help him.

Whether he hits the heights of such legends such as Baresi, Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro etc... of the last 20 years only time will tell.
on the 10th October, 2012 at 4:42am
Of course Ranocchia deserves his chance , the question should be is Giovinco Italy material ? and how on earth did Gilardino get the nod ahead of Cassano ?
on the 10th October, 2012 at 2:43am
is Ranocchia Italy Material? seriously?
i think most of you should watch some DVDa of him playing for bari or even Inter , surly he is the most talented italian defender after golden era of italian defenders.
and who the hell is azzurri material if he isnt?
who else we got now?Bergomi and baresi?or you're telling me that chiellini and Barzagli are at the same level as T.Silva? No they showed what classy players they are
ITALIA0-4Spain,too early Forget it.
Comeon Andrea Save Italia With Ogbonna
on the 10th October, 2012 at 1:05am
Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta are near-flawless stoppers...Cannavaro NOT. "but he has a balon du something..." that should have been shared btwn Pirlo and Buffon [if based on the 2006 exploits]
on the 9th October, 2012 at 11:40pm
Are you kidding me ?

If he isn't, then who? El Shaarawy or Pazzini ?!

Ranocchia is quality. Barzagli consistency, Bonucci charismatic evolvement, and Chiellini power & sharpness, those are things that make every coach satisfied. But, why not add some quality.

Ranocchia's biggest mistake is that he's playing for Inter, as it was the mistake Cannavaro did.

Cannavaro was the Azzurri captain, and he was almost every match benched for Materazzi and Cordoba.

Now, Andrea facing the same dilemma.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 11:34pm
chiellini and barzagli are the best deffenders for italy .end of story .
on the 9th October, 2012 at 8:53pm
please people . do not blind yourselves . there are not many deffenders to choose from but lets not settle for a below average player . the quality of the national team and serie A teams has dropped . this is because big money teams are stealing all of our quality players .even though italy only lost the final because prandelli played an injured chiellini out of position and should have played the 3 5 2 formation which we almost won with . crappy coaches make big teams look small . eg maradonna
on the 9th October, 2012 at 8:51pm
Ranocchia deserves a chance. He's never been given a long enough time to learn from mistakes and he looks much better now.

Also what else are we to judge him other than performances so far this season even against a weak Milan side?

If the standard will always be Cannavaro, Nesta, Baresi, Maldini etc. then no one is worthy, not even Chiellini.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 8:25pm
no no noooooooooooooooooooooo
on the 9th October, 2012 at 7:08pm
on the 9th October, 2012 at 7:07pm
ranocchia has potential to go back to bari where he belongs . he can take bonucci with him aswell .
on the 9th October, 2012 at 6:53pm
are you all insane . he is not good at all . rating him against possibly the worst milan team in history . lolol ranocchia is even worse than bonucci .
on the 9th October, 2012 at 6:52pm
I dont rate him at all. I would love to be proved wrong but in my view he is a liability, he gets away with it to some degree at club level but at international level will be found wanting. I would have Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Roncaglia ( who deserves a chance), Ogbonna all before Ranocchia. Also dont rate Astori. Prandelli has named 9 defenders in the squad. My 9 would be, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Abate, Balzaretti, Roncaglia, Cassani, Ogbonna, Criscito.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 6:28pm
I am not so much convinced about this guy i believe Astori as well as ogbonna are much better than him. Howevere, he woont be a first choice for sure with chelini barzagli as well as chellini i doubt he would break into Starting 11
on the 9th October, 2012 at 5:30pm
What's interesting is throughout the years of 94 - 2002, our defense was comprised of hall of famers like Maldini, Baresi, Nesta, Costacorta, and Cannavaro. Yet we didn't manage to win one trophy in that time, and we got scored on. Sure, there were defensive masterclass displays .. but lets not forget South Korea beating us, or France scoring 2 goals in the dying minutes of 90, and OT. Point is, even with these flawless defenders, we were scored on and did not win. Ranocchia should get a shot.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 5:03pm
I think Strama is the secret to his form, and I just hope he can continue it until the end of the season, Italy needs rannochia,chiellini, barzagli, ogbonno and astori in their finest forms.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:34pm
I cant remember Maldini and Baresi but Fabio Cannavaro and near-flawless doesnt fit into same sentence. Nesta was maybe the worlds best defender for a while but thats doesnt mean that he was perfect.

IMO Ranocchia has very good chance to became as good as Nesta or even better. People shouldnt glorify the past when rating modern players that just not fair.

And for the title question, Is Ranocchia Italy material? Well Rano is the best italian CB at the moment then he probably is Azzur. material.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:33pm
eh. Ranocchia's defending is inconsistent. I like Ogbonna much better. I hope to see him at one of the bigger clubs soon. Acerbi looks promising as well. He is excellent in 1 on 1's.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:31pm
What about Paolo Cannavaro? He's been one of the best center backs in Serie A for the past 3+ years and not a single cap to his name. It makes no sense......
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:23pm
Bravado! Ranocchia has potential. If he countinue to play like against Milan and regulary he would be a revelation for Inter. La nazionale can come second.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:07pm
yes he deserve it base on performers and confidence cos before i think ranocchia is waste of money for inter due to is performer last season but current now it as prove everybody wrong and try to forget injury that affect him for people to doubt is ability on and off the field.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 4:05pm

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