Roberto Mancini says only Italy-born players should represent national team
Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini says it is wrong for players who were not born in Italy to represent the Squadra Azzurra after seeing Brazil-born Eder and Argentina-born Franco Vazquez included in Antonio Conte's latest squad.
Even players with Italian parentage should be excluded, according to Mancini, who believes home-grown talent are being denied an opportunity the way things are.
"The Italy national team should be Italian," he said at a meeting of Serie A coaches and referees in Rome on Monday, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Maybe we find some players in the Italy squad who are not Italian but only have some relatives here, but this is only my opinion.
"I think that an Italian player deserves to play in the Italian national team while those who were not born in Italy, even if they have [Italian] relatives, don't deserve it. We do so much to bring through young players and then we go and call up the foreigners [who are eligible to play] for Italy."
Were Mancini to get his way, neither Eder nor Vazquez would be turning out for Italy in their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Bulgaria or friendly with England next Tuesday.
Thiago Motta -- part of Italy's World Cup squad -- and Mauro Camoranesi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, would also have no place in the national team, to name just two more recent examples.
"Vazquez's mum's Italian -- you can't get more Italian than him," said the Palermo player's coach Giuseppe Iachini upon his arrival at the event. "If somebody feels a sense of belonging due to an affectionate bond, then some things [like what Mancini has said] are not worth even mentioning."
Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio also defended the selection of players who were not born in Italy, saying: "If I remember rightly, we won a World Cup with one of them. Besides, Conte is free to select the players who are eligible to play and if one has [Italian] citizenship, then he can play and that's the end of it."