ROME — Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini does not like seeing foreign-born players on Italy’s national team.
Speaking at a Serie A meeting Monday, Mancini says, ”The Italian national team should be Italian. … An Italian player deserves to play for the national team while someone who wasn’t born in Italy, even if they have relatives, I don’t think deserves to.”
Mancini was responding to this weekend’s call ups of Sampdoria’s Brazilian-born striker Eder and Palermo’s Argentine-born midfielder Franco Vazquez to Italy’s squad.
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Vazquez’s mother is Italian while Eder gained citizenship through more distant relatives.
Dozens of foreign-born players – mainly Brazilians and Argentines – have appeared for Italy over the years, highlighted by Omar Sivori and Jose Altafini in the 1960’s and Omar Camoranesi during the Azzurri’s 2006 World Cup victory.