Juventus’ veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo announced on Monday that he will continue to play for Italy.
The 35-year-old admitted that he had considered retiring from international duty after the Azzurri’s disappointing group-stage exit from the World Cup in Brazil.
"I have been talking with (new Italy coach Antonio) Conte who asked me if I was ready to play again for the Azzurri and I told him that I was," Pirlo said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was a difficult decision to take. I had wanted to stop playing for the national side but he (Conte) took over and he asked me to lend a hand.
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"I am happy to do that and we are hopeful we can achieve great things together."
Conte led Pirlo and Juve to three straight Serie A titles before leaving the Turin giants this summer to accept the Italy manager’s post left vacant by Cesare Prandelli.
Pirlo, who is the fourth most-capped player in the national team with 112 appearances, is currently sidelined with a hip injury.
The former AC Milan midfielder will miss Italy’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Norway in Oslo on Tuesday but should recover in time for the Azzurri’s qualifier against Azerbaijan in Palermo on October 10.
Italy began their new era under Conte with last week’s 2-0 triumph over Holland in an international friendly in Bari.