Andrea Pirlo has openly admitted it was very hard for him to accept being left out of the Azzuri squad for Euro 2016. He came out of retirement so he could feature in the tournament but was disappointed at the last 23-man team selection.
Image: Andrea Pirlo
The Italy great, however, believes Antonio Conte’s men will make it to the finals without him.
The 37-year-old is currently plying his trade for New York City FC in MLS. He retired from international football in 2014 after the the World Cup in Brazil but was convinced to return for the Euro qualifying campaign by his former Juventus coach.
Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco were snubbed in Italy’s final list featured at the European Championship.
The midfield maestro has tried letting the pain off his chest. “I’m disappointed to have been left out, but I have to accept and respect the decision of the coach,” he told the Times of India.
“I had to retire after the World Cup, but I decided to go on to try to make it to France. It ultimately wasn’t possible and it’s painful to say but a return to the national team would be difficult at this stage.”
As the Azzuri get ready to face Spain in the Round of 16, Pirlo says:
“This group of players has already demonstrated its qualities.
“All opponents have to be respected and at this point anything can happen. This is a very balanced tournament, but Italy can win it as they have a very strong defence.
“I’m supporting Italy of course. Even if I’m not there I hope and believe that our team can do well.
“We did well in the qualifying stage and now there’s a desire to do something important. Italy knows how to win trophies.”