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By ESPN Staff
Sep 5, 2008

Del Piero doubtful for Italy's World Cup qualifiers

Alessandro Del Piero could miss Italy's World Cup qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday through injury.

The Juventus captain injured his abductor muscle during Thursday's training session and is rated as doubtful for the clash in Larnaca.

Hospital tests in Florence showed no serious damage and he will have a late fitness test before his team travel to the Mediterranean island.

The veteran striker will return to Turin should he fail to recover in time, although he would likely return for Italy's second Group Eight qualifier against Georgia in Udine on Wednesday.

'Today he trained separately (from the rest of the team). Tomorrow we'll make another assessment. He might be ready for Cyprus,' coach Marcello Lippi told reporters ahead of the match in Larnaca.

Lippi, who is making his competitive return to the Azzurri bench after being recalled to replace Roberto Donadoni following Euro 2008, said there was no danger his team would take Cyprus lightly in their opening qualifier for South Africa 2010.

'Underestimating the opposition and the environment is not allowed. These are mistakes that intelligent people don't make and our group is mature,' the 2006 World Cup-winning coach said.

'We want our first three points. The defence of the title of world champions also passes through here.'

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon dismissed speculation that Manchester City were preparing a bid for him similar to the 100-million-euro offer that Chelsea made AC Milan for Kaka according to media reports.

'We are talking about fantasy football, because there's lots of talk of princely offers, but I like to touch things first to see how real they are,' he was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport's website.

'I don't know if anyone could really offer 100 million for me, I don't think so, I'm six years older than Kaka.'

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