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Pirlo kicks the sun

The Toe Poke
 By Ben Gladwell

Roma's Federico Fazio would consider playing for Italy after Argentina snub

Federico Fazio is frustrated by his lack of chances with Argentina.

Roma defender Federico Fazio has said he would consider representing Italy.

Fazio, who was born in Buenos Aires, has represented Argentina at the 2008 Olympic Games and in three friendlies but has yet to make an appearance for them in an official international fixture.

The 29-year-old's grandfather came from Sicily and he said that, having given up hope of a call-up from Alejandro Sabella, he could opt to play for Italy if Giampiero Ventura asked him to.

He told Ultimo Uomo magazine: "I was a regular...

Serie B chief Andrea Abodi to run for president of Italian FA

Andrea Abodi, the president of Serie B, would like to see festive fixtures in Serie A.
Andrea Abodi will run for president of the FIGC and leave his current job in charge of Serie B.

Serie B president Andrea Abodi has announced he plans to run against incumbent Carlo Tavecchio for the presidency of the Italian football federation.

The FIGC vote is on March 6.

Abodi informed Serie B clubs on Monday that he plans to step down from his position in order to campaign for the FIGC job.

Abodi says he wants to create a federation that is "transparent, modern and free of influences."

In his six and a half years at the helm of the second division, Abodi has proved innovative, notably...

Car carrying Luca Toni and Hellas Verona president attacked

Car carrying Luca Toni and Hellas Verona president attacked
A car carrying Luca Toni, left, and Hellas Verona club president Maurizio Setti came under attack on the way to a match in Avellino.

AVELLINO, Italy -- Italy World Cup winner Luca Toni and the president of Serie B club Hellas Verona had their car attacked while traveling to a match on Saturday in the southern town of Avellino.

Toni, who is part of Verona's management team, says the aggressors mistook them for fans because club president Maurizio Setti was wearing a scarf with the team's colours.

Toni told Italy's Sky TV that a window of the car was broken where Setti was sitting and that the president was hit by a bottle of beer.


 By Ian Holyman

Mario Balotelli must 'be more consistent' - Gianluca Zambrotta

Mario Balotelli has helped Nice reach the top of Ligue 1.
Mario Balotelli has scored 11 goals in 18 appearances for Nice this season.

Mario Balotelli must "commit himself more" to exploiting his potential if he wants to return to the Italy side, Azzurri legend Gianluca Zambrotta has told Foot Mercato

Balotelli, 26, has not played for his country since being taken off at half-time of Italy's final group game against Uruguay ahead of their exit from the 2014 World Cup with his own tournament in Brazil as disappointing as his nation's.

Underwhelming spells at Liverpool and AC Milan since have done little to rebuild the reputation...

Italy knights Albania coach Gianni de Biasi

Gianni de Biasi has been honoured for his contribution to Albania.

TIRANA, Albania -- Italy has awarded Gianni de Biasi, an Italian who coaches the Albanian national team, with the Medal of the Star, graded as a Knight, for promoting the country in the sport.

An embassy statement Wednesday said Italian Ambassador Alberto Cutillo awarded the medal to De Biasi the previous evening "for his contribution to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and to promote Albania's image abroad," adding that "before politics De Biasi managed to bring...