Sunday June 26 2016
Pirlo: 'Italy don't need me'

Andrea Pirlo assures Italy “don’t need me. I think I did what I had to” with the Azzurri jersey and tips Marco Verratti for the future.

The New York City FC midfielder is watching Euro 2016 from home, even though Claudio Marchisio and Verratti were ruled out by injury.

“I think all of us have the duty at a certain point to realise how old they are and what they can still give,” Pirlo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Therefore if you make the choice to come and play in America, you know what you’re getting into. If my priority had been playing in the Euros, I would’ve stayed for another year at Juventus.

“The moment I decided to go to New York, automatically it was clear with Antonio Conte: ‘If you need me, then I’m here, but if you call someone else then I understand.’

“Not seeing me as often as the others, Conte couldn’t know my condition as well as them. So he called others. Italy don’t miss me. I think I did what I had to with the Italy shirt.

“I do miss the Nazionale, but I knew that I would. Even just sitting in front of the TV, you feel the adrenaline and realise how much it affects you. I don’t think Italy need me, as they are doing very well and will do even better, you’ll see.”

Verratti had been ready to take centre stage at Euro 2016, but was ruled out by a sports hernia.

“Perhaps he is the player that most resembles me. He certainly would’ve been one of the stars of this Euros and he will definitely be the leader of Italy in future. He has everything required for that role.

“In Europe I don’t really see players who are like me. Maybe that’s fortunate, as I’d be a bit sad… Of course I would’ve liked to be called up and play for the Nazionale, but in my mind it was far more of an ‘I’d like that’ as opposed to ‘it’d be the right thing to do.’”

Conte will leave after Euro 2016 for a job at Chelsea and the next Italy Coach is Giampiero Ventura.

“He has more or less the same ideas as Conte and seems to me the right Coach to carry on the project built around young players.”

So far the Euros have been less than scintillating, so is it fair that Italy are still considered defensive?

“Apart from the fact that having a good defence is not a crime, it seems like a cliché. As soon as Italy get the ball, they attack with at least four or five players. I rarely see four or five in line with the opposition defence even from so-called attack-minded teams.”

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