Friday May 9 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Gilardino

Could Alberto Gilardino make it into Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup Squad? Sam Lewis believes he is in contention.

With talk of young, athletic strikers dominating the thoughts of Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli, Alberto Gilardino is hoping that there is still room for a touch of experience on the plane to Brazil.

The 31-year-old broke on to the scene in Serie A as a talented forward for Parma, earning himself a move to Milan in 2005. Gilardino left the Rossoneri in 2008 for Fiorentina and has since become somewhat of a journeyman, playing for Genoa, Bologna and the Grifone again in a two year spell following his departure from the Viola in 2012.

A consistent scorer in Serie A, Gilardino has been a continual goal threat throughout his career and his role as the Genoa’s top scorer this season is no surprise. The former Fiorentina striker’s 14 goals in 33 appearances are by far the best offensive contribution from any Genoa player this season, with Luca Antonelli’s three goals the team’s next best tally.

Gilardino’s goals have been vital in maintaining Genoa’s Serie A status, accounting for 36 per cent of the Rossublu’s 38 goals so far this season in a style that has not been adapted or changed since his entrance into Azzurro consideration a decade ago.

Strong and adept at holding up the ball, Gilardino is a classic striker able to receive long balls to maintain offensive pressure, often looking to play a teammate through with a flick-on. A reliable presence from set-pieces, the 31-year-old is an assured finisher with his head and both feet.

Thanks to their time together at Fiorentina, Gilardino has often been a favourite of Prandelli – even being made captain for a friendly against Ukraine in 2011 and when Mario Balotelli suffered an injury during 2013’s Confederations Cup, it was Gilardino who started the remaining fixtures in the tournament. If not his goals, then Prandelli’s trust in the striker’s reliability could be what sees the forward in Brazil.

However, despite the relationship between player and Coach, Gilardino faces competition from a collection of talents, all of who are younger than he is. With Balotelli, Giuseppe Rossi, Ciro Immobile, Mattia Destro and Domenico Berardi all looking to stake their claim to a place in the Italy squad in summer, Gilardino’s window of opportunity may have shut.

The fate of Gilardino’s World Cup chances may depend on the fitness of Giuseppe Rossi, a player who Prandelli still hopes to be able to select for the summer’s tournament. If the Fiorentina man is still not 100 per cent from the knee injury that has kept him out of action since January, then Gilardino could be selected in his stead as a safety net for the mercurial Balotelli and other forwards who carry much less experience.

There is a lot of competition for the striker positions ahead of the World Cup and with no more than five spots expected to be open, there could be more than a few disappointed players in front of Coaches or on sunbeds in June. Gilardino will hope that experience and familiarity mean he’s not one of them.

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Have your say...
Balotelli on the pitch is as bad as gila on the pitch. Its like starting the game with a handicap... without balo the team plays like a unit. With him its 10 men running and a striker thats nowhere to be seen!
As for gilardino well beyond explanation! This man is single handedly the worst player I have ever seen!
on the 19th May, 2014 at 5:50pm
Unbelievable he is still being considered. Somehow Prandelli has no doubts in him. If Cassano and Pirlo are not on the pitch creating for the Azzurri, there is no chance.
on the 13th May, 2014 at 3:06am
It is totally ridiculous that Gila will earn a place in the World Cup. This is obvious patronage,and for this Prandelli should be fired. To me , there are only two players , Cassano and Pirlo, who can make defences look foolish. I am reading that Cassano may not be picked, which means too much pressure on Pirlo and an early exit by Italy. Really wished Donadoni was coach.
on the 12th May, 2014 at 11:40pm
2 world cups too many. No other manager would pick him, he plays the game of his life and he is still average. What does prandelli see in him, why should he get into the 30 man squad instead of Rossi or Destro or El Sharrawy. Absolute craziness. Against Spain in the confederations it proved playing him is like having 10 men on the field. Please don't be a hypocrite Prandelli, we need energetic, fast and dynamic players, he isn’t any of these. 11 goals in 36 games minus penalties poor player.
on the 12th May, 2014 at 3:13pm
Cannot believe he is an option, sub in 2006 at 23 and has never been a top player. So many better younger players, BALOTELLI, IMMOBILE, ROSSI, CERCI, INSIGNE, CASSANO, DESTRO, EL SHARRAWY, BERADI. Even oldies such as Totti (classic top player) Toni (taller better in the air), Di Natale (faster/goal machine) and Osvaldo are all better than him. He weakens the team, adds nothing and takes up a better players place. Slow, lacks agility and fitness, never scores a goal from further than 7 yards. NO!
on the 12th May, 2014 at 3:11pm
Cannot believe he is an option, was a sub in 2006 at 23 and has never been a top player. So many better younger players, BALOTELLI, IMMOBILE, ROSSI, CERCI, INSIGNE, CASSANO, EL SHARRAWY, BERADI. Even oldies such as Totti (classic top player) Toni (taller better in the air), Di Natale (faster/goal machine) and Osvaldo are all better than him. He weakens the team, adds nothing and takes up a better players place. Slow, lacks agility and fitness, never scores a goal from further than 7 yards. NO!
on the 12th May, 2014 at 2:58pm
My Starting XI Vs England.

De Rossi--Pirlo--Cerci
De Sciglio--Chiellini--Bonucci--Abate

4-1-3-2 Formation

on the 12th May, 2014 at 11:04am
Gila is no where near good enough. Its a joke he is even considered. Insigne is in form and scoring goals, at the perfect time. It disgusted me to hear that a small section of Livorno fans, if you can call them that abused Rossi at the weekend. I hope these animals are found and severely dealt with. There is no place for that filth. Rossi is a great man and a great footballer, he has a big heart and deserves great credit for his positive outlook despite some awful injuries.
on the 12th May, 2014 at 8:27am
I'd rather Toni if we need someone to hold the ball up, and he is better at scoring anyway. If I was a defender I'd probably be more uneasy defending against Toni than Gilardino
on the 11th May, 2014 at 11:53pm
Anyone who think Balotelli should be left off this squad is an idiot, anyone who think he is a selfish player hasn't watch the national team in 4 years, and should have no say now!
on the 11th May, 2014 at 10:15am
Does Gilardino knows that Prandelli has a blatant affair with a girl so he's in the list even tons of better striker are spread out in Peninsula? Immobile, Gabbiandini, Destro, even new serie-a first timer in promoted club, Berrardi, scored 16 goals so far. In a club that half good as Genoa, he did more. So what can you expect from him? If you are talking about add experience then bring Totti, Del Piero or Tony are better option...
on the 11th May, 2014 at 4:00am
It's a shame there's a character count limit on this site, because I'd like to write "No" a million times. You get my drift. Leave him a' Casa. (Please!)
on the 10th May, 2014 at 5:07pm
For 2014, Italy needs to bring strikers/attack players capable of unlocking disciplined lines. With likes of Gila, Azzurri will probably struggle again, as they did in some previous big tournaments. My personal view suggests that Balo, Rossi, Immobile, Destro, Cerci and Insigne must be selected.
on the 10th May, 2014 at 8:37am
Do we really think cerci should be in squad? Really now thinking immobile, destro, balotelli, cassano and Rossi, should go
on the 10th May, 2014 at 7:49am
Cerci, Insigne for me need to go but in attacking midfield roles. That way we can still take 5 or even 6 out and out strikers.

Balo, Immobile, Cassano, Rossi(if fit)Destro, Berardi or Toni. We have a good mix of defence and attacking midfielders. Bolster the strikers options. Let's show our intent to win this WC.

Forzi Azzurri
on the 10th May, 2014 at 6:41am
Why he's even being mentioned is beyond me.

He's had his moments throughout his career but with the list of forwards available this summer, he should not even be considered.

There are 7 forwards, at least, that are (should be) miles ahead of him.
on the 10th May, 2014 at 3:19am
No point discussing Gilardino, we don't want him, but we all know he will in the final 23! Silly Prandelli!
on the 9th May, 2014 at 9:41pm
Lucio, totally agree with you about his performance in confederations cup. Did not make anything special happen if my memory serves me correctly
on the 9th May, 2014 at 8:14pm
Toni for me would be better choice
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:39pm
Just heard from an insider that Totti will be selected and that he has already has been informed my Prendelli. This should get us into at least the semi finals.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:16pm
Excellent list. Perfect order. Lets hope prandelli has eyes, sense, and half a brain and goes with the top 5 in that list- top 5 in your list tick all the boxes and play for the team not them selves!
on the 9th May, 2014 at 6:06pm
Not in a million years
on the 9th May, 2014 at 5:28pm
No! Although I do believe that he gets an unfair amount of criticism. He is a grafter, who does hold up the ball quite well, & he has a decent goal scoring record. The trouble is that he isn't outstanding at anything. He is a player that CB's won't fear playing against. Our other options tend to have better movement, power, & technique.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 5:15pm
Does not score enough at International Level. At the highest level he has not made it. Think it is time to move on - if he had a record for Italy that said otherwise maybe you would take him on past glories.
Destro and Immobile are in better form, hungrier and more importantly better players than Gilardino.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 5:10pm
The most deserving Italian forwards in order (if healthy) of going to Brazil…

1. Immobile
2. Rossi
3. Cerci
4. Cassano
5. Destro
6. Balotelli
7. Berardi
8. Toni
9. Insigne
10. GILARDINO *****
11. Gabbiadini
12. Paloschi

Why Gila is even in the discussion boggles my mind. As a poacher coming off the bench, Destro is better than him in every way.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:32pm
Sam Lewis said it, he's a journeyman, He's average and has never lived up to his potential. He was completely anomynous in the spain and uruguay matches in the confed cup. We have so many players who are more talented and younger. He was also part of the woefull trident from the last world cup (iaquinta-gilardino-pepe) probably our worst ever forward line. For me he should not even be selected in the preliminary squad.
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:11pm
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
This man is worse than oswaldo! He is beyond rubbish. Im sick of this love affair prandelli has with this man. He should be banned from football, he is horrendous at best! Please. Its embarrassing that he is even mentioned!
on the 9th May, 2014 at 4:03pm

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