Gianluigi Buffon has quashed rumours of a rift in the Italy squad ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Armenia on Friday.
The Juventus goalkeeper was forced to deny reports Daniele De Rossi’s failure to make the starting 11 for Roma’s win over Atalanta on Tuesday had created tension in the Italy ranks and backed the midfielder to perform for the national side.
“The atmosphere is normal. There is nothing complicated about it. It just so happened that on Sunday the coach decided to not play Daniele,” Buffon said.
“You do not know the real reasons. But regardless, his value and contribution to our team go way above any problems he has (at Roma).
“We have him, we are all close and we are happy he is in our squad. Players bring their club worries to the national team all the time – that is commonplace. But the national team is immune from all this negativity.”
The omission of striker Antonio Cassano by Cesare Prandelli raised eyebrows in some quarters, but veteran Buffon believes in his manager’s vision and has backed the veteran to bounce back.
“We are trying to carry out a project with fresh faces and young players who are being given a chance on the biggest of stages. Hopefully these players will grow quickly on a technical level, because Brazil 2014 is not so far away,” he said.
“The exclusion of Cassano? I am not surprised. These are the choices the coach has to make. I do not think, however, that the coach has closed the door in his face.”