Napoli duo Fabiano Santacroce and Christian Maggio have expressed their delight at receiving their first call-ups to the Italy squad.
Defender Santacroce and midfielder Maggio have earned a place in Marcello Lippi´s 23-man team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Montenegro following impressive displays in Serie A this season.
"I am thrilled," admitted Santacroce. "I was told of the news by my club's general director Pierpaolo Marino and I still cannot believe it."
It has been a rapid rise for the 22-year-old, who was only playing for Serie B side Brescia last season and has become a regular in Edy Reja´s squad since arriving at Napoli this summer.
"I was speechless," added Santacroce. "I can´t wait to begin this adventure and I thank Napoli for having helped me to get this splendid opportunity."
Santacroce´s club team-mate Maggio was equally ecstatic.
"This is a dream come true," said the 26-year-old. "Finally it has happened and I say finally because I truly believed I would eventually join the national team."
Along with Udinese forward Simone Pepe, Santacroce and Maggio are the only new faces in the Azzurri team.
The World champions take on Bulgaria in Sofia on October 11 before playing host to Montenegro in Lecce four days later.