Prandelli leaves Di Natale off Italy's squad

BY foxsports • November 6, 2011

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has once again left Serie A's leading scorer Antonio Di Natale off his squad, even with usual starters Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano unavailable.

The Azzurri visit Euro 2012 co-host Poland on Friday then host Copa America champion Uruguay at Rome's Stadio Olimpico four days later in friendlies.

Prandelli instead called up regular reserves Giampaolo Pazzini, Mario Balotelli, Simone Pepe, Alessandro Matri and Pablo Osvaldo in attack.

Rossi had knee surgery last week and Cassano is recovering from heart surgery, with both players expected to be out for up to six months.

Di Natale led Serie A in scoring the past two seasons with a combined 57 goals and also leads this season with eight goals in 10 matches, but Prandelli has never called him up.

Di Natale's last appearance with the national team came when he scored in a 3-2 loss to Slovakia that eliminated Italy from last year's World Cup. He has scored 10 goals in 36 appearances but Prandelli may be hesitant over his age, 34, which doesn't fit into the renewal project the coach has undertaken since replacing Marcello Lippi.

Also, AC Milan fullback Ignazio Abate received his first call-up.

Italy qualified for the European Championship with two matches to spare.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St. Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan).

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Inter Milan), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus).

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), Alessandro Matri (Juventus), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma), Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter Milan), Simone Pepe (Juventus).


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