No Giovinco or Pirlo for Italy
The days when Major League Soccer was slagged off as a retirement home for top footballers have not gone away. At least not to Antonio Conte. The Italy boss revealed the reason he opted not to pick Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco for his Euro 2016 squad was because they moved to the USA, a decision that carries consequences.
Football Italia have published quotes by Conte, who will become Chelsea manager after the tournament, from his latest press conference in which he stated that the duo were paying the price for playing in MLS.
Conte said: “I spoke to Andrea, I needed to hear from him and we sent people to the US. However, we’ve made other choices and you have to accept them and deal with the consequences. Nothing was left to chance. We evaluated him and Giovinco, it’s normal that if you choose to go and play there then you can pay the consequences in footballing terms. We evaluated them technically, we didn’t leave anything to chance. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong, we went everywhere to have clear and precise ideas. I picked the 30 who I think will give me the most guarantees.”
The coach also spoke about who Italy are facing in friendlies before the tournament, which begins next month, and why they’re facing them: “We opted for Scotland because they’re very similar to Ireland, while Finland are more like Sweden. “We chose them to see what kind of games await us.
Is Conte right about MLS?
While MLS has grown in stature over the last few years it’s still lagging way behind European leagues. The MLS schedule is awkward for major tournaments and, for managers like Conte, it could be a case of out of sight, out of mind. While Giovinco was a revelation for Toronto last season, many question why he couldn’t produce that form when he played in Serie A and come to the conclusion that it’s because MLS is significantly weaker.
Pirlo has been a flop in America so the decision not to take him is justified. Italy’s Euro 2016 opponents Ireland will be taking Robbie Keane to the tournament despite the fact that he’s been playing for La Galaxy since 2011.