De Rossi dedicates win to murdered father-in-law

September 11, 2008

Italy hero Daniele De Rossi paid an emotional tribute to his late father-in-law after the Azzurri's 2-0 win over Georgia.

De Rossi scored both goals in the Italians' second straight World Cup qualifying victory.

Massimo Pisnoli, De Rossi's father-in-law, was murdered last month in Rome and the Roma midfielder said: "I dedicate this victory to my father-in-law: a man who we all loved and who is no longer with us.

"It's a difficult time for me but no-one can imagine what my wife and her sisters of 14 and 17 have gone through."

Italy coach Marcello Lippi had nothing but praise for the 25-year-old.

"He is one of the best midfielders in the world," said Lippi. "He is at the level of (Frank) Lampard and (Steven) Gerrard."

De Rossi was touched by Lippi's remarks, saying: "I work hard to become always a stronger player even at international level.

"Lippi's remarks give me great pleasure because to be considered alongside a fantastic player like Gerrard is a great compliment."

Lippi was also satisfied with his team's overall improvement.

The Azzurri tactician admitted his team had been fortunate to have taken a 2-1 triumph at Cyprus last weekend after Antonio Di Natale's last-minute goal.

"We have suffered to get this victory against Georgia," said Lippi. "But it's beautiful to win having suffered.

"I have seen some improvement and this is a good sign.

"Considering the many players we have lost to injuries in recent days, to have come out with two positive results is very good.

"In a month's time we will be in a different situation, with players already having six or seven games under their belts."

Lippi will be hoping to recover Marco Amelia, Alessandro Gamberini, Gennaro Gattuso, Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero when the Azzurri return to international competition next month.

All those players sustained injuries while on duty with the national team this weekend.

The world champions, who lead Group Eight after two qualifying games, take on Bulgaria in Sofia on October 10 before hosting Montenegro five days later.