Can Prandelli continue to ignore Miccoli’s magic?

There’s a mystery at the heart of Italian football. It’s got nothing to do with match-fixing, illegal substances or refereeing decisions. No, it’s something far more fundamental than that, because this mystery may never be solved. Quite simply, it’s the enigma surrounding Serie A’s riddler-in-chief, Fabrizio Miccoli.
Any regular viewer of Serie A will have seen, over the past few years, compelling evidence of Miccoli’s tremendous talents. In his stints at Benfica and Palermo, the ‘Maradona of the Salento’ has hit half a century of goals, assisted countless others and enjoyed devastating partnerships with players like Amauri and Edinson Cavani – both of whom have been sold on to bigger clubs.
As usual, the little-man gets left behind.
On Sunday, against Roma, Miccoli was simply unplayable. Scoring a fierce drive from the edge of the box, his trickery, fast feet and instinctive passing make him one of Italy’s most effective attackers. In short, he’s the closest thing to an Italian Romario Serie A’s ever had.
In Antonio Cassano’s likely prolonged absence from the nazionale, Coach Cesare Prandelli could arguably do no better than offer the international exile one last crack at big tournament football. After all, why not?
Well, many believe that Miccoli was excluded from Marcello Lippi’s international squads because he refused to put himself on the books of football agent Davide Lippi – son of the World Cup winning Coach. This so-called insubordination was compounded further still when he testified against GEA in the calcipolli scandal, rocking the boat just for kicks.
In the past, Miccoli has mysteriously hinted that we shall only know the truth behind his exclusions after he has retired. Whatever the reasons, can an Italy team evidently struggling to recapture its identity after an humiliating recent collapse really afford to ignore the sparkling confidence and skills of the ‘pocket bomber’? Many would argue that his continued exclusion is a gross oversight, if not something more sinister.
Let’s not forget, it’s wasn’t just Lippi who abandoned Miccoli. Roberto Donadoni, Giovanni Trappatoni and – thus far – Prandelli, have all ignored one of the nation’s most naturally gifted players. Prandelli’s arguments for the merits of youth fell apart the moment he recalled Gianluca Zambrotta. At 31, Miccoli is the same age as Andrea Pirlo, who will no doubt be the focal point of at least one more international competition.
Looking at Miccoli’s rivals for a place in the azzurri squad, the mystery surrounding his continued absence deepens. There cannot be many coaches in world football that would pick Alberto Gilardino, Vincenza Iaquinta or Simone Pepe ahead of Miccoli. It could be argued, too that Giuseppe Rossi – a similar type of ‘false nine’ – is a long way from being the polished player Miccoli is now.
With players of breathtaking skill like Josip Illicic, Javier Pastore, Abel Hernandez – and of course Miccoli, Palermo look set to mount another serious challenge to qualify for the Champion’s League. In recent seasons we have seen Miccoli lead from the front, scoring important goals against Roma, Milan, Juventus, Lazio and Inter. It seems that almost any other Italian striker playing such effective, fantasy-laced football would be a nailed-on regular in the national team. But, as usual, with Miccoli, not so.
Now firing all cylinders, after a lengthy injury, if Prandelli continues to ‘blackball’ Miccoli – especially considering the legal turmoil Cassano is going through – then it will be hard for many loyal azzurri fans to take seriously the Coach’s much vaunted meritocratic approach. Welcome Bonus Offer Betway

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