Top 10 Italian Soccer Players Left Off the 2010 World Cup Roster
Marcello Lippi’s 30-man provisional squad for the Italian National Team has finally been announced and as always there are some extremely talented players that have been left off the roster who will now be able to make other plans for their holiday.
Some call this one of the weaker squads in La Nazionale’s history, but manager Marcello Lippi has ignored the critics and built a squad that best fits the manager’s liking. Despite the exclusion of multiple talents that seem like no-brainer selections the public has to give Lippi the opportunity he has earned. Lippi managed Italia to their Fourth World Cup Title in the most recent World Cup in Germany 2006 and Italia supporters must trust and have faith in the manager till he gives reason to do otherwise.
Lippi may be seen as a stubborn, hardheaded manager, but he is the mastermind at the controls and as long as he is confident with the roster, supporters must keep faith in the manager. It may burn to have such obvious talents absent from the biggest football tournament that only comes along once every four years, but Lippi has always stated he has the best intentions for the group over any individual and he deserves to be shown some respect because of his past accomplishments.
Here is the 30-man Italian National Team provisional squad for the 2010 World Cup. Seven more names are due to be cut off the roster, but for the main part the headline names to be excluded have most likely been announced unless some surprises lie ahead.
Goalkeepers—Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari), Salvatore Sirigu (Palermo)
Defense—Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Grosso (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Mattia Cassani (Palermo)
Midfield—Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Antonio Candreva (Juventus), Andrea Cossu (Cagliari), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese)
Forwards—Alberto Gilardino (Firoentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Giuseppe Rossi (Villareal), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Marco Borriello (AC Milan), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus)
Now to the Top 10 exclusions....
2006 World Cup Champions
Alessandro Del Piero, Marco Materazzi, Flippo Inzaghi, Simone Barone, Massimo Oddo, Angelo Peruzzi (retired), Marco Amelia, Cristian Zaccardo, Andrea Barzagli, Simone Perrotta.
Euro 2008 squad members
Christian Panucci, Nicola Legrottaglie, Alessandro Gamberini, Massimo Ambrosini
Mario Balotelli, Amauri
10. Luca Toni
This big Italian striker is sure to be disappointed about being left off this summer’s World Cup squad, but this won’t come as shocking news to many.
Toni has been on the downfall of his career ever since the last World Cup and his disappointment is sure to continue this summer as no one is sure what club he will be playing with next season.
Toni was a part of the 2006 World Cup Champion roster and did manage to score two goals in the tournament, both being in the quarterfinal 3-0 victory against Ukraine.
The big target up front has been far from dominant ever since and has clearly lost what little pace he had along with his balance and nose for the goal.
9. Sebastian Giovinco
The Atomic Ant stood out as a prolific attacker with the U-21 Italian National Team, but has struggled to find his way on the pitch with his club Juventus.
His World Cup hopes were minimal thanks to his minimal participation with his club this season and due to the fact that he has never been called up to the Italian National Team, but this youngster’s talent cannot be denied.
Giovinco has put his dazzling dribbling skill and tremendous technical skills on display at the 2008 Toulon Tournament where he was named Most Valuable Player while leading the U-21 Italian squad to the Championship.
Giovinco also put together another successful tournament in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
This sparkling Italian talent is sure to bust onto the scene in the nearby future, but unfortunately for Sebastian it will not be during this summer’s 2010 World Cup.
8. Gaetano D’Agostino
The midfielder seemed to be a strong candidate to make the roster a year ago, but a quiet season at Udinese ended his dream this time around.
The soon to be 28-year-old is a midfielder and is known for sharp passing skills, but hasn’t played since early February due to an injury that may have crushed any hopes of this talented veteran ever making a World Cup appearance for Italia.
What’s known for sure is this talented midfielder would have been a great addition to the depth of the midfield in this summer’s squad.
7. Marco Motta
This young Roma defender brings energy and pace up the wing. Motta’s swiftness and liveliness on the pitch is a valuable asset that could have been a nice addition to this Azzurri squad with the aging Zambrotta and Grosso on the roster.
Motta has constantly been a vital producer and contributor to all the Italian Youth National Teams he has had a place on, including being named captain of the U-21 Italian National Team in 2007.
Motta has been called up to the National Team for World Cup qualifiers back in 2009, but he has yet to make an appearance for Italia.
That being said Motta is sure to be a reliable bet to take over a wing back spot for Italia in the near future.
6. Davide Santon
This young Inter defender has been labeled the future of Italia’s defense for years to come.
The 19-year-old is another great option left off the squad that could have added great pace and skill up the flank from the wing defensive position.
Santon has been nagged by injuries in the recent late weeks of Serie A and hasn’t been used as often as he would have liked with his successful Inter side, but Santon was still a viable option for Lippi.
Lippi was impressed enough with the skillful defender to include him on last summer’s Confederation’s Cup roster at the ripe age of 18, but his lack of action this season (15 appearances) obviously cost this talented Italian.
Look for Santon to be starting for Italia by Euro 2012 at the latest.
5. Alberto Aquilani
The former Roma midfielder, who now plays for English side Liverpool, may have been hampered by injuries for a bulk of the past season and he may have been reduced to a reserve role with the Reds while recovering his form, but his technical abilities are sure to be missed by the Italian midfield.
Italia will miss Aquilani’s ability to help in possession and his threat to score from a distance.
This also would have been a tremendous opportunity in Aquilani’s livelihood as a 25-year-old to take the next step in his career and become a force on the biggest stage for his nation.
The injuries have obviously taken their toll on Aquilani’s young career, as another opportunity has passed this talented youngster and he is surely to be devastated by his exclusion.
Hopefully Aquilani is able to get healthy during the offseason and get his career back on track to still become a star in his future for his nation’s side.
4. Alessandro Nesta
Alessandro Nesta has been one of the best central defenders in the world for the past decade, but despite calls for his inclusion and being courted by Lippi, Nesta avoided the temptation and persuasion attempts and stood his ground on his International retirement.
Nesta may have been slowed by injuries over the last year, but his presence on the squad would have been an enormous lift to the Italian defense. His partnership with Cannavaro has been a complete success over the years and his experience alone would have been a vital contribution to the depth of this defense.
3. Fabrizio Miccoli
This skilled striker plays his club football for Palermo. He has been in top form this season and his dribbling and passing skills are something that some say is lacking from this Italia squad.
His 19 goals this season and eight assists finally brought him the credit and attention he has deserved.
The pint sized, soon to be 31-year-old packs a punch in the attack and has the ability to disrupt the opposition’s backline at quick pace.
Some point to a bad relationship between Miccoli and Lippi due to past complications as the reason for Miccoli’s exclusion, but this is all speculation.
What is for certain though is that Miccoli has the talent it takes to make this squad and the abilities to produce on the World’s grandest stage, but we will never get to see that.
2. Francesco Totti
The Great Francesco Totti “Er Pupone.” Known as one of the best footballers of the all time.
Totti and Lippi managed to keep everyone on the edge of their seats throughout the past year about if Totti would be making his international comeback for the World Cup this summer, but the answer has finally arrived. We have yet to get the feedback on why Totti was not included on the squad, but one can be pretty sure Totti and Lippi talked it over thoroughly.
Many may point to the expulsion of Totti in the Coppa Italia Final with Lippi in the crown, but it is doubtful that Lippi would let a recent bad decision by Totti trump the strong respectful relationship he shares with him.
Totti will be missed dearly this summer, as many claim Italia lacks the trequartista to provide the playmaking for the attack. Something Francesco Totti proved to be vital throughout the 2006 World Cup Championship run.
Despite not being in ideal form in 2006, Totti still managed to play a key hand in over half of Italia’s goals during the tournament. He was also named to the World Cup All-Star team after lifting the Cup.
Totti is an elite player that will go down in history as one of the all time greats and he will surely be missed as his International career can officially be ruled complete.
1. Antonio Cassano
This extremely skilled Italian has been locked out of the Italian National Team due to his bad reputation. He can easily be identified as the most talented and skilled attacker in Italia, but Marcello Lippi feels it’s best to leave off the short-tempered Cassano for reasons unknown to some.
Many see this political exclusion as a major reason why Italia won’t have the attack to advance deep into World’s most prestigious tournament, but Lippi seems confident that the overall group will be fine and perhaps even benefit from the absence of Fantantonio due to his euphemism.
Cassano will forever be remembered as one of the most talented Italian footballers who was never given the opportunity to put his incredible abilities to show on the grandest stage of the World Cup. Some may say this is his own fault, but others can just as easily blame a manager for his wrongful exclusions.
Either way Italia will surely miss Antonio Cassano’s technical abilities, as they prepare to take battle in the 2010 World Cup with ambitions of repeating as World Cup Champions and grabbing their fifth star to boot.