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By ESPN Staff

Lippi will not pressure Totti, Nesta to return

ROME, July 1 (Reuters) - Returning Italy coach Marcello Lippi said on Tuesday he would not put pressure on striker Francesco Totti and defender Alessandro Nesta to reverse their decisions to retire from internationals.

Lippi, who led the Azzurri to World Cup glory in 2006 before stepping down, returned to the role on Thursday after Roberto Donadoni lost his job following Italy's failure at Euro 2008.

AS Roma captain Totti, 31, and AC Milan defender Nesta, 32, quit internationals last year and many pundits believe Italy would be better equipped if the pair returned for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

'I am totally convinced that you must respect peoples' decisions, in this case two great champions who have given everything for the national side,' Lippi, 60, told his first news conference since his reappointment.

'It is not right (to pressure them), they've made a decision we must respect.'

However, Lippi did the leave the door open for the pair if they changed their minds independently.

Totti was injured and in any case would have missed Italy's lacklustre run to last month's Euro 2008 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual winners Spain.

But Nesta would almost certainly have been in the team after captain Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of the tournament with injury just before it started.

Lippi refused to answer questions about Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero, who is evaluating his international future after being a bit part player at the Euros.

Defender Christian Panucci, 35, fell out with Lippi and did not play in their victorious World Cup campaign in 2006. He was ever present under Donadoni at Euro 2008 and Lippi said no player was ruled out.

'All players from 18-40 years-old enter my plans,' he said. I am here to continue a winning streak. I have the will to rediscover the great feeling from the World Cup. I restart with the squad I left, integrating other players, hopefully youngsters.'

Lippi's first match back will be a friendly against Austria in Nice on Aug. 20 before their World Cup qualifying campaign begins in Cyprus on Sept. 6.


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