Monday November 9 2015
Conte ‘considering Italy without Pirlo’

Antonio Conte says he will consider an Italy team with no Andrea Pirlo and looks ahead to a ‘fascinating challenge’ against Belgium.

The Azzurri travel to Brussels for the friendly on Friday against the team now ranked number one in the world.

Conte discussed his tactical ‘model’ with Italy and two players starring in MLS, Sebastian Giovinco and Pirlo.

“Sebastian is not here today because of a sprained knee - Otherwise he would be here,” said Conte at today’s Press conference.

“The failure to call up Andrea was expected because he had already stopped for two weeks because of the end of the regular season.

“For my part, there is a need to make an assessment. I hold Pirlo in great esteem and he knows how I consider him and because of this I have to be cold in my analysis.

“Andrea will be 37 and we will have to see. The start of the season in the US will be in March, I will have to give my evaluation, looking around, taking into account the possibility also of no longer having Pirlo in the National team.

"Belgium are first in the world rankings, and this is proof of the tremendous growth that this team has had.

“I chose this type of friendly just to test the team and see where we are.

“I'm curious to see what we can do against Belgium, who are a top team. It will be a difficult and fascinating challenge.

“Every model has a start and expiry date. It takes time for this to take root and become a reference for others.

“Often models are given by the winners. For us at the centre of everything is the game, the desire to play the game and to excite the fans.

“We work for this and I hope that those who see Italy sees nice football and identifies with us.”

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: