Alessandro Del Piero has urged Italy not to underestimate the strength of its rivals at the Confederations Cup.
The Azzurri went into the 2009 edition of the tournament as favorites, having lifted the World Cup just three years prior, but they crashed out of contention at the group stage.
This year they are in Group A alongside Brazil, Japan and Mexico - with their opening clash against Mexico on Sunday, and the former Juventus attacker is keen to see the current crop banish their demons while in Brazil.
"It's happened in the past. I think there is always a small dip in form during this time of the year. There is every chance that the other teams will take this Confederations Cup seriously," Del Piero told Sky Sport Italia. "Let's not forget that Italy were runner-ups in Euro 2012. They are a team of hopefuls who must take every opportunity to grow and improve.
"When you play certain games at certain stages, determination and concentration come to the fore."
Del Piero's current employers Sydney will spend the majority of the summer in Italy ahead of the new A-League season, and the forward says he is happy to be returning to his motherland.
"I am particularly glad to have the chance to come back, and will be nice to get back in contact with so many people," the 38-year-old added.
"Where [abouts am I going]? I cannot say yet, but soon you'll know about it, along with the friendlies [Sydney] will play in."
- Sports & Recreation