Roberto Mancini isn’t happy with Antonio Conte choosing “non-Italian” players for the Italy national team.
Conte doesn’t particularly care what Mancini thinks of his calling up Franco Vazquez and Eder for this week’s matches against Bulgaria and England.
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After all, this isn’t the first time “oriundi” will factor for Italy. Mauro Camoranesi and Thiago Motta are among a great deal of non-Italian born players to suit up for the Azzurri.
“I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to call up these so-called oriundi,” Conte said, using the Italian word for foreign-born players. “These are the rules and this is football. … I respect anyone’s opinion but I haven’t done anything new.”
Conte called up Sampdoria’s Brazilian-born striker Eder and Palermo’s Argentine-born midfielder Vazquez for Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Bulgaria and a friendly with England three days later.
“The Italian national team should be Italian,” Mancini, the Inter Milan coach who was considered for the Italy job before Conte was hired last year, said earlier. “An Italian player deserves to play for the national team while someone who wasn’t born in Italy, even if they have relatives, I don’t think deserves to.”
Come on, Mancini. This runs as old as time, and lesser nations than Italy have gotten over this issue. You’ve won World Cups with “oriundi”. Consider the way ‘Soccernomics’ works and the population of Italy, you’re going to need to go to the well if you want to win another one.