— Italy (@azzurri) May 31, 2016
Italy manager Antonio Conte has named his final 23-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament.
The final squad has a few high-profile absentees, such as Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, and the legendary midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo. The soon-to-be Chelsea boss did admit that he was unhappy to leave Pirlo out, but that he had no other choice.
“Andrea Pirlo is a great player,” Conte said. “I had him for three years in Juventus and we won a lot with him. I’m very affectionate to him. But I know that in this moment, I have to find the right choice for Italy and not for my heart. I’m not happy that Andrea isn’t here, but this is life and we must continue.”
Another major exclusion from the squad was Paris Saint Germain star Marco Verratti, who was ruled out due to injury.
Conte stated: “It isn’t a good moment for our football. It’s important that the squad has a good spirit. I work a lot at this. If we are able to find this way, it’s possible to be an outsider.”
The full squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St-Germain).
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham).
Midfielders: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele de Rossi (Roma), Mattia de Sciglio (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Thiago Motta (Paris St-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus).
Forwards: Eder (Sampdoria), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus).