No future for Italian football team: Ex-coach Prandelli

Rome, Aug 31 (IANS) Former Italian football team head coach Cesare Prandelli has predicted a dark future for the four-time World Cup winners primarily because of the lack of development of its emerging talents.

The 58-year-old managed Italy from 2010-14, guiding the team to the final of the 2012 European Championship but saw his team crash out of the group stages in the FIFA World Cup 2014, which forced his resignation.

Since the early elimination, Italy’s form has dipped that led the coach to exhibit a deep pessimism about the national team’s prospects. He, however, had kind words for Italy’s controversial star striker Mario Balotelli.

“I see no future for la Nazionale (national team), but Mario Balotelli has really grown. It’s hard to see a future for la Nazionale,” Prandelli was quoted as saying by on Sunday.

“You can see a future when our youngsters are developing, when you have a plan ahead for the next four to eight years.

“But if our lads reach the age of 20 and are competitive at the European level, and then end up finding no space in our championship then it means that Italian football has some problems,” the 58-year-old added.

The veteran, with experience of coaching several clubs in his native country as well as other teams in Europe, said Italian clubs are also responsible for the decline, being party to a “sick football system”.

“Clubs have too much power. Their interests are purely financial, I’m very pessimistic and I’ve experienced that on my own skin, the former Fiorentina, Roma and Galatasaray coach said.

“The national team garners some interest only when there’s a Euro Cup or a World Cup, there’s no drive to heal a sick football system because we’re unable to produce our own players. We’ve got some problems.”

Prandelli identified that a clash of interest between the clubs and the national team was responsible for the downfall and ideally both should work together to set up a holistic structure for the betterment of the sport.

“If everybody agreed that the most important team in Italy is the national team then we’d have solved all of our problems, you could plan your future alongside the clubs.”

Prandelli also held himself accountable for the team’s failure in the 2014 World Cup, saying his mode of functioning wasn’t up to the mark.

“I took full responsibility for it, especially for my own shortcomings, because the technical set-up didn’t work. If we weren’t able to create goal-scoring opportunities against Costa Rica it means the set-up wasn’t working, even though it functioned perfectly against England,” he concluded.

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