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Buffon backs Totti return

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has backed Roma’s talismanic midfielder Francesco Totti to return to the international fold.

Totti, who has 58 caps, retired from international football following Italy’s World Cup triumph in 2006, but coach Cesare Prandelli has hinted at a possible recall for the 36-year-old.

Italy face Brazil in an international friendly on Thursday before taking on Malta in a 2014 World Cup qualifier next Tuesday.

The shot-stopper said veteran Totti would be a welcome addition back to the international fray.

“Totti is still part of the Italian national team because with some of us, including me, he has shared an adventure since playing for the under-15s,” Buffon said.

“Therefore, he will always be one of my team-mates in the national team. If a player like him keeps on playing at such extraordinary levels, I believe that nothing can prevent such a player from making a difference and winning matches.

“This is my view on a player who continues to write the history of Italian football.”

Buffon said his side will be hoping to deliver a strong performance against the five-time World Cup winners in Geneva, even though there is nothing on the line.

“On Thursday we will be playing a friendly match against Brazil, but even with nothing at stake, you don’t want to make a bad impression,” he said.

“This challenge is very exciting. We’re going to represent Italy in the FIFA Confederations Cup in three months’ time, and we’re going to play in this competition with the aim of winning. We’ll be doing our best, and therefore we have to work hard.”

Italy left-back Luca Antonelli also supported the notion of a Totti return, pressing his claims for a spot in the squad for the World Cup in Brazil next year.

“I believe Totti is still the best in Italy. He is in great physical condition and is able to deliver unique feats on the football pitch,” Antonelli said.

“My dream is to play in the 2014 World Cup and I’ll do my best to achieve to this objective by continuing to perform well with my club Genoa.”

Tue 19 Mar, 2013
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