Saturday June 22 2013
Montolivo: 'I'll take Pirlo's place'

With Andrea Pirlo injured, Riccardo Montolivo insists he’s ready to take over against Brazil. “I already play that role at Milan.”

Italy must beat Brazil tonight in Salvador (kick-off 20.00 UK time, 19.00 GMT) to top Group A and therefore avoid facing Spain in the Confederations Cup semi-final.
As Pirlo is out with a calf injury and Daniele De Rossi suspended, Montolivo takes on the playmaker mantle.

“I already play that role at Milan, so it wouldn’t be a problem for me,” he said in his Press conference.

“The Coach hasn’t told me yet what position I will be taking, but in my career I have always given my all and adapted to the needs of the team.

“We lacked many things in the 4-3 win over Japan on Wednesday, though the incredible humidity really did not help us.

“There is the risk we’ll feel the fatigue, as in competitions like this one extra day of rest can make all the difference.

“It’s true we held Brazil to a 2-2 draw in Geneva back in that March friendly, but this time they can count on Thiago Silva...”

Montolivo joked that so far the players who attended pre-match Press conferences – Pirlo for Mexico, De Rossi for Japan – have gone on to score.

“I hope the trend continues! If it does, we’ll be fighting to be here next time. I can only say I went very close to scoring in the first game and will try again with Brazil.”

The Confederations Cup has been overshadowed by the violent protests around the country, as people claim the Government spent far too much money on this tournament, the Olympics and World Cup rather than on basic infrastructure.

“Violence is always to be condemned and cannot be accepted for any reason. Everyone must show solidarity towards those who protest in a civilised manner. Civilised protest is a right that everyone must have.”