Italian 1982 World Cup winners Fulvio Collovati and Claudio Gentile have hit back at the criticism of Brazilian legend Zico.
The fantasista yesterday insisted that Italy’s 3-2 win over Brazil in the tournament, thanks to a Paolo Rossi hat-trick, had a negative effect on football as we know it.
“Brazil had a fantastic team, recognised around the world, and everywhere we go people remind us about that team in 1982,” Zico stated.
“If we had won that game, football would have been different. Instead, we started to create football based on getting the result at whatever cost, football based on breaking up the opposition's move, and based on fouling the opposition.
“That defeat for Brazil was not beneficial for world football.
“If we had scored five goals that day, Italy would have scored six as they always found a way of capitalising on our mistakes.”
Those words haven’t gone down too well with some members of the Azzurri squad, starting with Collovati.
“I saw Zico crying on the bus after that game and that wound has not healed,” the ex defender commented.
“Italy-Brazil was an extraordinary game and we also had a good Giancarlo Antognoni goal disallowed.
“Zico’s words are out of place and Gentile’s man-marking on him was in line with the rules at the time. Brazil lost because they faced us with presumption.
“And the following year, Zico came to play in Italy with Udinese – a sign that our football was not so disgusting.”
Former Juventus stopper Gentile added: “Are you sure Zico said such things? I’m friends with Zico and he’s always told me something different.
“For example, he recognised that my marking of him was tough but fair. If his comments are accurate, then what do you want me to say?
“It is absurd to kick-start a controversy 30 years on. Italy-Brazil was spectacular. Come on, this is just a misunderstanding.”