Prandelli’s pool of talent – registi

Midfielders

Midfield summary

In a similar vein to the defence, the midfield offers ample choice for the central roles and a blank when it comes to the lateral players. But while the shuffle of full-backs is only a matter of pecking-order uncertainties, the absence of wingers represents a genuine crisis in the sector. This lack of flanking midfielders, along with an abundance of forwards, have convinced Prandelli that a best formation involves three forwards backed by three midfielders. The composition of the midfield trio would then plausibly be as follows: one regista to direct play, one mediano to close opposition spaces, and one all-round player with a lot of breath, capable of taking care of a multitude of different tasks. There are several combinations of athletes that could fulfil these requirements, and finding the best three men among them is a crucial challenge for Prandelli.

The registi

Alberto Aquilani (Juventus)
Age: 26
Position:Central midfield/attacking midfield
Description: Brilliant and in his prime, Aquilani has been handicapped by an infinite history of injuries that forced him to miss out on the last two big tournaments. He has not been tested on the big stage, but he remains a smart, creative regista with a terrifying long-range shot, and he could prove a real asset in almost any formation.
Call-up: Certain
Luca Cigarini (Sevilla)
Age: 24
Position: Central-midfield
Description: A well-rounded playmaker, perhaps a little slow, now with international experience. He was given little trust by Walter Mazzarri when playing for Napoli, and he was loaned to Sevilla, but he is bound to get some more attention next year (rumour has it that he will be coming back to Italy, perhaps for Juventus). Euro 2012 may be a bit too close for him, but 2014 is a serious possibility.
Call-up: Likely
Cristian Ledesma (Lazio)
Age: 28
Position: Central midfield
Description: Polemics have flourished around the call-up of this Argentinean oriundo. The truth is, though, that there are many registi in Italy, and he is not one of the best. Protesting may be a waste of breath.
Call-up: Unlikely
Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina)
Age: 26
Position: Central midfield
Description: One of Prandelli’s ex-favourites from Fiorentina. Montolivo is a highly talented regista in his prime, with excellent skills both defending and attacking. Unfortunately he lacks consistency, and for some reason has never performed well with the national team. If anyone can extract the best from him, that has to be Prandelli.
Call-up: Likely
Andrea Pirlo (Milan)
Age: 31
Position: Central midfield
Description: One of the greatest midfielders in Italian history, but well past his prime. His experience, vision and technical abilities as a regista are valuable – his lack of pace, speed and endurance are not. Though he will not be there for the next World Cup, he will make the Euros unless injury stops him.
Call-up: Certain
Andrea Poli (Sampdoria)
Age: 21
Position: Central midfield
Description: A brilliant, precocious young regista, destined for much greater teams than Sampdoria. Confident and versatile, he is the closest player to Pirlo in terms of technical attributes. He may not make it for Euro 2012, but he will definitely be a candidate for the World Cup.
Call-up: Likely

Prandelli’s pool of talent

Goalkeepers
Central defenders
Full-backs
Registi
All-round midfielders and mediani
Wingers
Forwards (part 1)
Forwards (part 2)

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