Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says he has 18 players already set for his World Cup squad, but declined to reveal if Francesco Totti is in his plans.
Prandelli is currently holding a two-day fitness camp for 42 players across Italy, which will help him decide who should be in his 23-man squad. While he stated that all involved in the camp have a chance of being involved in Brazil, the 56-year-old said he already has an idea of who will form the bulk of Italy's 23-man squad.
"I do not even know that myself," Prandelli told reporters. "I have only 18 in my head. To complete that, I have to first understand how those 18 are and then add the others."
Veterans Totti and Luca Toni have enjoyed excellent Serie A seasons, but have not been called up by Prandelli. And he quickly moved on when asked about the pair, who both played key roles in Italy's famous 2006 World Cup win.
"For Totti we must have the utmost respect, so I will not go into details," he said. "I know Luca very well, his championship [this season] is extraordinary, but perhaps it is better to speak of those who are here in Coverciano."
Those called to the fitness camp 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," Prandelli said. "[Scuffet] has forged ahead. He is here because he has a lot of potential. As for the World Cup I cannot say anything more. All who are here [at Coverciano] have a chance [of going to Brazil]."
Reports in the lead-up to the camp suggested that Inter’s Jonathan would be involved, but Brazilian-born Romulo has been included instead.
"To call up a player like Jonathan requires seven months of negotiations to have the paperwork — it is not the same situation with Romulo," Prandelli said. "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."
Prandelli was also asked about his code of ethics, which is believed to be behind Mattia Destro’s absence from the physical tests this week, after the Roma striker was banned for three matches for directing a punch at Cagliari defender Davide Astori.
"I do not care about their private lives, that is their business. But I can say that our ethical code is very simple and clear," Prandelli said. "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 behavior.
"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.
"No, not [Destro] in particular. I tell everyone that they have to know how to handle the stress. 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."
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