Friday May 13 2016
Euro 2016 Squad Selector: Montolivo

In the run-up to Euro 2016, Football Italia will be asking who Antonio Conte should select in his Italy squad. Marco D’Onofrio analyses Riccardo Montolivo.

The veteran is one of the most experienced options for Antonio Conte this summer, but that doesn't necessarily make bringing him to France the right decision.

Riccardo Montolivo has been a staple in Milan's starting line-up since his arrival in 2012, despite the plethora of coaching changes at San Siro. Even then, regular playing time may still not be enough for the 31-year-old to make Antonio Conte's final squad this summer.

There is no denying that the Azzurri could use the kind of veteran presence in the middle of the pitch that the 31-year-old carries with him, especially with the loss of Claudio Marchisio. Not only did Montolivo participate in the last European Championship that saw the Italians make it all the way to the final, he was also a member of the 2009 Confederations Cup team, the 2010 World Cup squad, and he would have been in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup had it not been for a broken leg.

However, Montolivo hasn't exactly been turning heads the past couple of seasons either, and he is far from the guarantee he had been in the past.

The midfielder's last goal for his club came on April 13, 2014 - against Catania - but even more worrying is the fact that he that he has picked up just one assist in the last two seasons. While Montolivo was never a goal-scoring machine, his lack of offensive production in the past couple of campaigns is a real sign that the veteran has yet to regain the form he showed prior to breaking his leg.

The Azzurri have struggled to develop talented midfielders in recent years, and with youngsters like Jorginho and Roberto Soriano chomping at the bit to play for Italy this summer, Conte may decide the time is right to finally give the next generation their chance.

However, considering Montolivo was called up in Italy's most recent friendlies against Germany and Spain, it should be expected that he does get the nod to play in France as well. His likely inclusion in Conte's side will be due to the sad state of midfielders in the country at the moment. Montolivo hasn't done much to warrant a call in recent times, but Conte also doesn't have a many other options at his disposal either.

Check out the rest of our Squad Selector blogs and have your say by clicking here.

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Have your say...
Against Germany Motta and Montolivo proved what all of us know, the game is too fast for them and they are liabilities.

I still can't figure out what Berardi did to Conte, it's unreal that he can't even get a look.
on the 17th May, 2016 at 3:53pm
Im very happy to see the Anti- Monolivo comments..
He is a big disappointment and his passing is extremely poor. it is not penetrative .. His last good pass was in the last Euros to Ballos to score the 2nd goal ..
on the 16th May, 2016 at 3:28pm
What about this as a lineup?
Darmian-- Bonucci-- Chiellini
De Sciglio-- Baselli-- Motta-- Florenzi
Candreva-- Zaza-- Pelle

And definitely no Montolivo in France... Baselli deserves to start. Hesitant of including El Shaarawy in teh lineup but after a disastrous first half of the season at Monaco, decided it was better not to.
Anyway, I do not expect Italy to go far in this Euro, too many unsolved questions and a coach who knows he is gone after this.
on the 15th May, 2016 at 10:22pm
I hate to go against anyone playing/coaching for us but I just cannot understand how this guy is so highly regarded by coaches. I really do think as the article says it's a case of there being no-one else, or Conte not being willing to try. Maybe as the tournament progresses someone will emerge. Every time I've been thinking 'maybe this time' Montolivo just does...nothing.
on the 15th May, 2016 at 10:01am
- Like Schillaci, Grosso n countless other's.OK, it can turn out like Zaccardo too but will Conte dare to take that risk? What is it with Italy n youth anyway? No offence but there seems to be a weird hierarchy about Italian football where you either need to have played for a top club or that u need to be old. I know the pressure is extreme in Italy like. There are some good midfielders n wingers, it's a no9 where it's hard to think of one past Pelle? Insigne must go n I like Giovinco too
on the 15th May, 2016 at 5:27am
I thought he was great at the last Euro's. I specifically remember his long pass to Balotelli for his second goal against Germany n his silky skills. At the time I wished that there were more England player's with his technique n vision but this time I think Italy should give their younger player's a chance. Although the likes of Benassi, Saponara, Baselli n Berardi haven't really had a look in so far which isn't ideal that can still turn out to be a positive going into a tournament -
on the 15th May, 2016 at 5:15am
He'll go for sure now, especially with Verratti and Marchisio out.

Hard to believe, but true.

I would have played a 3-5-2 with thosetwo fit, but now a 4-2-3-1 might be better with Florenzi and Jorginho as the 2.

At least that way Montolivo is kept out.

Darmian - Bonucci - Chiellini - Antonelli
Florenzi - Jorginho
Candreva - Insigne - Bonaventura

Not ideal, but a decent balance given the loss of the 2 best midfielders.
on the 14th May, 2016 at 11:41pm
Absolutely not. This is the sencond biggest waste of space on just missing top spot to Balotelli!!!! We might aswel start games with 10men!
on the 14th May, 2016 at 10:06pm
Well watching the comment section on this one should be fun!

Montovlivo was neve top shelf material and shouldn't be selected. The issue is not that Italy doesn't have good midfielders, its that Conte won't choose them. Personally, if we are bringing an older midfielder, I agree with Stef and think it should be Pirlo. Especially as an off the bench player, he could prove his worth!
on the 13th May, 2016 at 9:27pm
Italy has always been too hung up on age/experience over youth. Look at what Germany just did to win the most recent World Cup. We need to stop relying on the players of the past and start integrating and developing our youth players. Use the Euros as a platform and chance for experience and development for WC 2018. Conte has always relied on grit and commitment, rather than flair and talent. I fully expect a starting 11 that includes Montolivo, Giacherrini, and Pelle
on the 13th May, 2016 at 6:50pm
No. Just please, no. I don't even know how Montolivo makes first team football with Milano. Montolivo is the poster child for everything that is wrong Italian football right now.
on the 13th May, 2016 at 6:29pm

Not this guy
on the 13th May, 2016 at 6:22pm
Regardless of the recent injuries to Verratti and Marchisio, there's no way Montolivo should be on the plane to France! He was never a world class player but at his peak he was justifiably part of the Azzurri set up but since his return from injury he's gone downhill and now is only just a half decent club player. He's slow, rarely creates any chances and gives the ball away regularly! For experience in the midfield we should turn to Motta or Di Rossi!
on the 13th May, 2016 at 5:22pm
No Montolivo! Hasn't done anything in the last 2 seasons. I'd rather take Andrea Pirlo at 37 all day long than Montolivo!

Infact, with the injuries to marchisio and veratti, should there be a place for Pirlo?
Never been quick anyway so legs don't matter, but the head and vision is always there.
on the 13th May, 2016 at 4:59pm
No, Please not Montolivo. Conte is leaving and I am glad he is, and he should be establishing a good core of young capped players for his successor. he should select youth ahead of this slow motion player. Federico Viviani is a good option, plus there is Marco Benassi and Baselli instead of Monto, Motta, Aquilani and Valdifiori. they can be very useful and get a much needed experience ahead of the next World Cup.
on the 13th May, 2016 at 4:18pm
NO NO NO and my nonna would also say NO NO WAY
on the 13th May, 2016 at 3:53pm
His goal / assist tally over 2 years sums him up. Against Germany he proved that he is slow and average - in front of talented midfielders he cannot cope, there are no surprises with Montolivo. He is 31 and he offers nothing talent wise nor for future tournaments (WC 18 he will be 33/34) whereas the much younger Jorghino, Benassi, Baselli, Sturaro, Soriano Vasquez would, plus each of these players have the element of unpredictability like Schillachi / Grosso. No thanks Montovlivo.
on the 13th May, 2016 at 3:53pm
In an ideal world, Montolivo has no place in France! Think the article is right though, not many other options for Conte! Scary!!!
on the 13th May, 2016 at 3:48pm

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