Prandelli: I’ve 18 in my head

Cesare Prandelli has avoided direct comment on Francesco Totti and Luca Toni and revealed he already has 18 players set in his mind for the World Cup.

Cesare Prandelli has avoided direct comment on Francesco Totti and Luca Toni and revealed he already has 18 players set in his mind for the World Cup.

The Italy Coach is midway through a two-day course of physical tests with the Azzurri squad, which is putting 42 players through their paces in order to formulate specific preparation programmes for the World Cup in Brazil.

Excluding foreign-based players, the injured Christian Maggio and suspended Mattia Destro, the omissions of Francesco Totti, Toto Di Natale and Luca Toni are seen as confirmation the senior trio are out of contention.

“For Totti we must have the utmost respect, so I will not go into the details,” Prandelli commented in an interview released today with Libero.

“I know Luca very well, his championship is extraordinary, but perhaps it is better to speak of those who are here in Coverciano.

“Antonio Cassano? More than anything I met with Roberto Donadoni. He made me realise that, apart from the Christmas period, the boy has had continuity of performance and behaved very well.

“The 23 for Brazil? I do not even know that myself, I have only 18 in my head. To complete that, I have to first understand how those 18 are and then add the others. We’ll see…”

Those called at Coverciano this week include Crotone’s Federico Bernardsechi and Udinese’s Simone Scuffet.

“Two years ago I called Verratti and nobody knew who he was, now everyone is talking about Verratti. Bernardeschi is one of the best Italian players.

“Scuffet? The boy has forged ahead, if he is here it is because he has prospects. As for the World Cup I cannot say anything more.

“All who are here [at Coverciano] have a chance [of going to Brazil].”

There was talk of Inter’s Jonathan being involved, but it is Brazilian born Romulo included instead.

“In this case there was bad information. To call up a player like Jonathan requires seven months of negotiations to have the paperwork – it is not the same situation with Romulo.

“And there is another problem – I have always asked the players to express themselves, to say ‘I want Italy and only Italy’. He did not do it.

“Icardi? We went to him three years ago and he said no thanks. That is legitimate on his part.”

The 56-year-old recently agreed to a two-year extension to remain as CT to June 2016.

“My salary is at €1.7m a year? This is not so, evidently few know this but I have not signed anything.

“Will I sign before the World Cup? Absolutely. In any case, I am currently the national team Coaches in Europe that are paid the least.

“Strange to renew without a sporting achievement first? In fact this is the first time it has happened in Calcio. This is proof that we have worked well and that our path may continue regardless of what happens.

“In Italian football there are a lot of sackings that do not lead to improvements…

“The Federation does not use public money to pay me – 60 to 70 per cent of my salary is paid by sponsors.

“Is being an ambassador for a sponsor at odds with my role as CT? A director at the Federation offered me a sponsorship, they gave me the go ahead and then I shot the commercial.

“There is no problem and I hope to make some more.”

Inevitably Prandelli was also asked about his code of ethics, which is seen as the reason why Mattia Destro is absent from the physical tests this week.

“I do not care about the private life, that is their business. I can say that our ethical code is very simple and clear.

“Many disagree on that? Here is too much partisanship and there are too many journalists who are fans.

“The guys have figured it out, I do not call up players who are banned for hitting or punching or any violent behaviour.

“I played for several years in Italy and am sick of players who cannot control themselves. In Italy, a certain type of situation is becoming frightening.

“Destro? No, not him in particular. I tell everyone that they have to know how to handle the stress.”

Prandelli was asked what would happen if someone broke the code of ethics just days before leaving for the World Cup.

“Whatever the situation is with the code of ethics, it is based on what happens during a game. It is not that someone takes a parking fine and then I have to leave them at home.”

Antonio Conte commented over the weekend that Juventus are either liked or disliked by fans in Italy.

“Conte is right, the teams that win become disliked.

“The issue over Giorgio Chiellini’s call-up in March when injured? It was my duty to clarify the decision, the rights and the duties of the CT.

“In any case I admire Conte because he is the best Coach in Serie A.”

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