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Clamour increasing for Del Piero to return to Italy squad

SoccerNews in Serie A 21 Apr 2008

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Alessandro Del Piero scored a hat-trick and played a starring role as Juventus thrashed Atalanta 4-0 and that performance immediately prompted calls for the striker to be recalled to the Italy squad.

Del Piero has been out of favour with Italy coach Roberto Donadoni in recent national team squads and many believe he won’t make the final cut for the Euro 2008 squad.

But Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri thinks the World Cup winning Del Piero’s treble will have been enough to force his way back into Donadoni’s reckoning.

“I’m convinced that Donadoni will call Del Piero,” he said. “Alex is in great form at the moment, he’s been showing that for a long time.

“I’m sure he’ll get a call up, I would call him up.”

Del Piero almost took Atalanta apart all on his own, setting up one goal and scoring the other three.

It was his first minute free-kick that Nicola Legrottaglie headed home and he then converted a pass from French forward David Trezeguet on six minutes.

Del Piero beat the offside trap before cooly slotting home his second and another through ball from Trezeguet allowed him to fire home his third.

It took his total of league goals for the season to 17, his second best total in Serie A and if he scores in Juve’s remaining four games he will at least match the 21 goals he managed in 1997-98.

It was the eighth league hat-trick of his career.

However, Del Piero was taking nothing for granted with respect to his Azzurri chances at June’s tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

“I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he was expecting a call from Donadoni to congratulate him on his hat-trick.

“The important thing is to get the call at the right time but even if that doesn’t happen, life will go on all the same.

“I really want to go (to the Euros) but we’ll wait for his decision.”

Del Piero has 85 Italy caps and has scored 27 goals for his country but at 33 this summer may represent his last chance to play in a major finals.

During a glittering career he won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and reached the Euro final in 2000, when an extra-time goal from Trezeguet gave France the title.

Now club captain, Del Piero has spent his entire club career with Juve, playing more than 500 matches.

He has won five Serie A titles, although that would have been seven had the Old Lady of Turin not been stripped of their 2005 and 2006 crowns for match-fixing.

He also won the Champions League in 1996 and the Italian Cup the year before that.

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