Posted on May 29, 2007
Italy coach Roberto Donadoni is hoping he can persuade AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta not to give up on the national team.
The 31-year-old, along with Roma captain Francesco Totti, has opted against playing for the Azzurri since last summer.
Nesta was a member of Italy’s World Cup-winning squad, but was injured during the group stages and has played no further part in the national team since then.
His replacement, Marco Materazzi of Internazionale, proved a key figure in the Azzurri’s success in Germany and has since become a regular starter for Italy.
“I hope that Nesta’s decision is a temporary one,” said Donadoni. “I try to be optimistic although it appears to be a definite decision.
“I don’t interpret it as a refusal towards the national team.
“Whoever joins us must be fit, convinced and motivated. I believe that it would be pointless for the Federation to intervene on this matter.
“I have spoken to both Nesta and Totti and I have accepted their reasons.
“I look to the present and future, thinking about the players that are here and happy to be here.
“When I was a player for me the Azzurri colours was the biggest ambition of all and it really burned me when I wasn’t included.”
With former Fiorentina striker Luca Toni out of action with a foot injury, Totti’s absence is particularly painful for the Azzurri.
Totti finished the season as Serie A’s top scorer with 6 goals.
The consolation for Donadoni is that AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi is available to play in the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against the Faroe Islands on Saturday and Lithuania four days later.
Inzaghi missed the clash against Scotland two months ago through injury, but has joined the Azzurri in training at their headquarters in Coverciano, Florence, in inspired form after last week’s heroics against Liverpool in the Champions League final.