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By ESPN Staff

Lippi to put no pressure on retired stars

Returning Italy coach Marcello Lippi insists he will not put pressure on former Azzurri stars Francesco Totti and Alessandro Nesta to come out of international retirement.

Both players called time on their Italy careers last year, but speculation has been rife that with Lippi back in the hotseat Totti and Nesta would reverse their decisions and link up once again with the coach, who steered the Azzurri to their World Cup success two years ago.

However, Lippi - who was officially unveiled as Roberto Donadoni's successor on Tuesday - has revealed he will not use his influence over the pair to encourage them to change their minds.

'I often speak to Totti but I would not call anyone to ask them to come back,' he said. 'I respect their decision and I would never try to change somebody's mind.

'They have to call me and ask to return, I would talk to them and we would take a decision.

'You have to respect people's opinion, in this case two great footballers who have given everything to the national side.

'For that reason I don't have any intention of thinking about their return.

'However I will advise those who are thinking of making the same decision in future to simply say 'I momentarily renounce international football to concentrate on my club, leaving open the possibility in future if you need me'.'

Lippi has still left the door open for the duo to return and insists he will not rule anyone out of his side.

'I repeat that I speak often to the players,' he added. 'If a player who wants to return calls me, we would look together at whether we do it or not and then I would take a decision.

'All Italian players from the age of 18 to 40 will come into my plans. The national side is a dream and everyone should have the dream to be part of it.'

That could see Lippi heal the rift with Christian Panucci. The Roma midfielder was an ever-present at Euro 2008, but was never selected by Lippi in his first stint at the helm and was not part of the victorious World Cup campaign.

Totti remained coy about whether he would reverse his decision to retire from international football.

The Roma captain, who is recovering from knee surgery which he underwent back in April, insists he is only concentrating on being fit for the start of the Serie A season.

'I want to wish Lippi and his staff good work,' Totti told Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport. 'I have always had a relationship of professional and personal respect.

'At this moment all I have in my head is recovery. I hold in high esteem the coach, with whom I have a good relationship still now. We talk a lot and we have done so in the years since the victory in Germany.

'But at the moment all I'm thinking about is recovering from my knee injury.'


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