Andrea Pirlo admits it was “painful” to miss out on Euro 2016, but insists Italy can win the whole thing.
The New York City FC midfielder was not included in Antonio Conte’s squad for the tournament, making it unlikely he’ll add to his 116 caps.
“I didn’t like being left-out, but I have to accept the decisions of the Coach,” Pirlo told Times of India.
“I had left after the World Cup, but I decided to play on to try and be in France. It wasn’t possible, and that’s painful. It’s hard to see a return to the national team now.
“I’m not criticising, I’ve always been respectful of Coaches.
“Obviously I’m cheering for Italy. Even if I’m not there, I hope and believe that our national team can do well.
“We did well in qualification, and now there’s the desire to do something important. Italy know how to win trophies.
“This group of players has shown all of its qualities. Every opponent must be respected, and at this point anything can happen.
“This is a very balanced tournament, but Italy can win the European Championships. The Azzurri have a very good defence, so it’ll be tough to beat a well-organised team like ours, plus we have a great Coach.
“France, Germany and Spain are also among the favourites.”