Marcello Lippi, Francesco Totti, and ItalyApril 21, 2010
The Nerrazzurri victory in 2006 was one of the most shocking defeats in recent international soccer memory. A team that drew against the United States while the Americans were playing with 10-men, was able to outlast the legendary Zinedine Zidane and the seemingly destined French squad to win the World Cup. The previous Italian team featured many prolific players from a now aging generation. Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro del Piero, Filippo Inzaghi, and Francesco Totti are all players that were key members of the Italian squad that won in 2006. The only remaining member from that group that still plays for Italy now is the talismanic defensive captain Cannavaro. The other three forwards have seen age catch up with them to force them into international retirement. Until recently. Francesco Totti has recently announced that if Nerrazzurri manager Marcello Lippi selects him for the World Cup, he will come out of retirement for the tournament. This leaves Lippi with an interesting decision as Totti has rolled back the years this season for his lifelong club AS Roma. Once 18 points back of league leaders Inter Milan in Decemeber, Totti has led Roma on an unbeaten run since that time that has seen the Roman club launch itself to the top of the Serie A and into pole position for the Scudetto. Nobody in Italian soccer would have predicted such a run and Totti’s leadership and undying loyalty to his club have inspired the team the entire way. This kind of inspirational impact is exactly what Lippi could benefit from if he selects Totti for the summer squad. International soccer is slower than the European game and Totti definitely still has something to offer. Whether Lippi invests in the youth movement in Italy or goes with the proven veteran commodity remains to be seen.