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Amauri explains decision to represent Italy

Brazilian striker Amauri says he decided to represent Italy because he has spent the vast majority of his playing career in the country.

Amauri, 30, played for a local side in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina before moving to Europe with Swiss side Bellinzona in 2000 and then, soon afterwards, Parma. He has remained in Italian football since and joined Juventus in 2008.

He missed out on a place in Marcello Lippi's World Cup squad despite taking Italian citizenship in March, but new coach Cesare Prandelli has included Amauri in his squad for Tuesday's friendly against Ivory Coast.

"I chose the Italian team two years ago because effectively my career as a footballer has been in this country," he said. "When I first arrived ten years ago I was a complete unknown in Italy, so to wear the Azzurri jersey now is a personal victory and a dream come true.

"I came here with my heart. I was not given a leg up by anyone and have nothing to be ashamed of. It's up to me to change the opinion that some people have. My objective is to represent the Azzurri for as long as possible, hopefully until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"If I were to score against Brazil then I'd have absolutely no problem in celebrating, just as I hope to celebrate on Tuesday night against the Ivory Coast."

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