ROME - Cesare Prandelli took over the
tattered reins of Italy on Thursday, putting his faith in
goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as new captain and promising to stay
upbeat despite a woeful World Cup.
The champions were dumped out in the group stage in South
Africa after a shock 3-2 defeat by Slovakia, having failed to
win a game at a World Cup for the first time.
"It's better to think positive. There are problems but I
want to start with the right optimism," former Fiorentina boss
Prandelli told a news conference after his presentation as
Marcello Lippi's successor.
"Buffon is an example, I hope to give him the captain's
armband at Euro 2012. People like him, so attached to the shirt,
are the legacy of Lippi."
The keeper only played one half at the World Cup because of
a serious back injury and will be out for three months, meaning
Daniele De Rossi is likely to lead Italy in Prandelli's opening
friendly in London on August 10 against Ivory Coast.
Previous captain Fabio Cannavaro and midfielder Gennaro
Gattuso quit internationals after Italy's elimination in South
Africa and Prandelli said he was unlikely to bring striker
Francesco Totti out of his Azzurri retirement.
"I'm not thinking about him. I hope I don't have an
emergency where I need to consider calling him up," said
Prandelli, who was announced as the next coach before the World
Cup and has penned a four-year deal.
The team lacked creative spark in South Africa without Totti
and Italian media has clamoured for Sampdoria's recently-married
and much-matured playmaker Antonio Cassano to be given a fresh
chance alongside Inter Milan's teenage rebel striker Mario
"I don't know Balotelli. The advice I can give him is to
calmly enjoy his profession. To me Cassano now seems very calm
and mature. Women can give you the right sense of life," said
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