Monday April 7 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Paletta

A fine season with Parma has thrust Gabriel Paletta’s name into contention for Brazil. Luca Cetta wonders if he will be the latest World Cup Oriundo.

To think Gabriel Paletta’s name would be in contention for a World Cup place a year ago was inconceivable. Even more so that it would be in relation to Italy’s squad. Thanks to his – and Parma’s – superb form, the central defender has been thrown into the mix for Cesare Prandelli’s backline.

As the Ducali’s 17-match undefeated streak lifted the club to heights not experienced in more than a decade, it also placed their stars under the spotlight. Antonio Cassano is a possibility for Brazil. So too Marco Parolo. Then there’s Paletta.

His is the most curious tale. A native of Longchamps, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Paletta represented his country of birth in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships. That Argentina side, also containing Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, lifted the trophy. A move to Liverpool didn’t work out and so Paletta joined Boca Juniors. All the while he was off the international radar.

He joined a Gialloblu side on the rise in 2010. They’re now on course for a third consecutive top-half finish. The ever-reliable Paletta does his job without fuss and is a set-piece threat at the other end.

Paletta’s great-grandfather left the peninsula and Gabriel has jumped at the chance to represent Italy at senior level. “I grew up in Argentina. My loved ones are there, my son Sebastian was born there. But I feel Italian if I think about my great-grandfather’s dream. He wanted his kids to go back to Calabria with some extra money in their pockets, to say he’d done what he’d set out to do. In a certain sense, wearing the blue [of Italy], would complete his journey.”

In his favour is Prandelli, a Coach open to the inclusion of foreigners of Italian descent – the controversial Oriundi.

Paletta impressed last month when thrown in at the deep end against Spain. He looked comfortable on debut alongside Andrea Barzagli, giving little – if anything – away against a Spanish outfit which put Italy under extended spells of pressure. It only strengthened Paletta’s bid.

Prandelli has tinkered with a Juventus-themed three-man defence, but favours playing four defenders. This may not suit Leonardo Bonucci, but means Paletta is right at home. Nonetheless, he has exposure to a back three at club level. The 28-year-old gives Prandelli options.

He is most comfortable playing alongside another central defender, as showed versus Spain. Paletta marks tight, can read the play and is tough to pass. He also knows the setting, having played on Brazilian soil in continental competitions during his Boca spell.

Yet as it stands, the Spain friendly is Paletta’s only international exposure. With such little time until the squad is announced, there’s an element of risk including a player so inexperienced at the top level in a cut-throat month of action.

Paletta will be hoping his versatility and positive first impression will give him the nod as he aims to become the latest in a long line of Oriundi to don the Azzurri shirt at the World Cup.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...


Chiellini,Barzagli,Bonucci,Ranocchia,Maggio,Criscito,De Sciglio



If Rossi is not fit in time then Destro, but i imagine he will pick giaccherini, parolo and osvaldo/Gila at the expense of Veratti,Cassano and insigne and gamble with a half fit rossi. I hope im wrong.
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 9:25pm
Romolu from Verona can or should be included in the World cup squad för Italy?
Forza Azzurri!
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 7:11am
Yes, he must be called up and taken to the WC. An excellent Calabrese descent lad.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 12:03pm
My Preliminary World Cup Squad:
GK - Buffon, Perin, Scuffet, Sirigu
DF - Abate, Astori, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito, De Sciglio, Maggio, Paletta
MF - Bonaventura, De Rossi, Florenzi, Giaccherini, Jorginho, Marchisio, Montolivo, Motta, Parolo, Pirlo, Verratti
FW - Balotelli, Cerci, Destro, Immobile, Insigne, Rossi
If the WC was in Europe I'd think about taking Cassano, Totti, Toni etc, but in the heat in Brazil I don't see how they could hold up.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 6:53pm
I am a big Paletta fan and really hope he goes, I think he will. I think he can do a good job at the world cup. My 23 would be:

GKs Buffon, Sirigu, Perin or Scuffet
DF: Chiellini, Bonucci, Paletta, De Sciglio, Maggio, Barzagli, Criscito
MF: Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio, De Rossi, Candreva, Motta, Parolo
ST: Balo, Rossi, Cassano, Immobile, Destro, Cerci or Insigne. This is my squad if all fit, only a bit unsure about 2 places .
on the 8th April, 2014 at 12:46pm
GK: Buffon, Marchetti, Sirigu
DF: Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci, Maggio, Criscito, Paletta, De Sciglio
MF: Pirlo, De Rossi, Montolivo, Marchisio, Motta, Verratti, Parolo
ST: Balotelli, Cerci, Immobile, Rossi, Insigne, Candreva
on the 8th April, 2014 at 12:03pm
GK : Buffon, Sirigu, Marchetti
DF : Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Paletta, De Sciglio, Criscito, Maggio
MF : Pirlo, De Rossi, Diamanti, Candreva, Montolivo, Marchisio , Veratti
FW : Toni, Destro, Immobile, Cerci, Balotelli , Insigne

Sorry had to have Marchetti forza Lazio! Cassano would hold back Insigne for me, Toni as back up plus in good form.
on the 8th April, 2014 at 8:16am
Paletta played with real quality and determination against Spain. He played like he really wanted that shirt. To do that against the best team in the world and to shine in doing so has convinced me. He has my vote to be on that plane for Brazil.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 10:36pm
I like your team Richard. I know he should be there, but i just can't stand Montolivo.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 8:51pm
Great Richard K, completely agree with your selection. Osvaldo has bad discipline and has scored a mere 5 goals, Gilardino is not good at enough, Giaccherini is sub for Sunderland in the relegation battle and does not deserve it. Destro and Immobile are scoring every week, Veratti is a wonderful player, all young and great athletes as Prandelli wants, so to not pick them would be contradictory to his own beliefs. Paletta is the best backup for the main Juve trio and was solid against Spain!!
on the 7th April, 2014 at 5:50pm
Cabrelli - because he is so versatile and also played well in confederation cup
on the 7th April, 2014 at 5:06pm
i suppose paletta has been extremely consistent this season and it not like ogbonna has been featuring on a regular or rannocchia showing any kind of real form but still It is hard to advocate paletta inclusion purely down to his receding hairline lol. I think the other cb should be bonnucci astori chiellini not sure you need a 5th cb unless they can play rb or lb. As for gaccherini he will run a marathon for any team especially after the horror that is sunderland he has a lot to prove.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 5:03pm
My World Cup team :
GK : Buffon, Sirigu, Mirante
DF : Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Paletta, De Sciglio, Criscito, Maggio
MF : Pirlo, De Rossi, Motta, Candreva, Montolivo, Marchisio , Veratti
FW : Cassano, Destro, Immobile, Cerci, Balotelli , Insigne
on the 7th April, 2014 at 4:58pm
Might aswell bring him hes the best of a bad bunch. Seeing as international football has become like club football with nations picking players from all over the world swapping nationalities- its basically "french rest of the world", "italy rest of the world" and "germany rest of the world". As this seems to be the future of international football I hope we pick a better foreigners to make italian in future,coz some of the rubbish we have circulating will hold back genuine italian talent.
on the 7th April, 2014 at 4:40pm
How about this for an Italy squad for after the world cup.

Sirigu, Bardi/Perin, Scuffet

Chiellini, Bonnuci, Astori, Paletta, De Sciglio, Criscito, Santon, De Silvestri

Veratti, De Rossi, Marchisio, Florenzi, Bonaventura, Candreva

Balotelli, Destro, Immobile, Berardi, Cerci, Rossi

It's quite top heavy but Some really good attacking options and potential goal keepers. Defense isn't great though
on the 7th April, 2014 at 4:30pm
Yashar - Giaccherini, why?
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:37pm
I agree with pretty much your entire squad:

Buffon, Sirigu, Scuffet

Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonnuci, Astori/Paletta, De Sciglio, Criscito, Maggio

Verratti, Pirlo, De Rossi, Motta, Marchisio, Florenzi

Balotelli, Destro, Immobile, Insigne, Cerci, Rossi/Cassano

Insigne, Cerci, Rossi/Cassano and Candreva can all play wide in a 433. Or if they play with two upfront then Balo,Destro,Immobile, Rossi/Cassano are all options. With the pace of Insigne/Cerci off the bench
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:34pm
World cup team + bench.


Paletta Bonnucci Chiellini

Maggio Pirlo De Rossi De Sciglio

Cassano (exchange with Cerci)

Balotelli Destro

Subs: Sirigu, Machetti, Barzagli, Abate, Motta, Marchisio, Verratti,Giaccherini, Montolivo, Insigne
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:30pm
He has done well for Parma and also was impressive on his debut v Spain! I'm a believer on picking players in form so as long as he keeps playing well he should go as a back up to the others, would also rather see him come to Lazio next season he would play more than he would at Juve but will see
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:21pm
my favorite world cup squad;

Buffon, Sirigu, Scuffet

Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonnuci, Paletta, De Sciglio, Maggio, Criscito

Motta, De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio/Flortenzi, Candreva, Giaccherini, Montolivo/

Balotelli, Destro, Rossi/Cassano, Cerci, Insigne/Immobile
on the 7th April, 2014 at 3:11pm

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