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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Buffon: De Rossi has no effect on squad

Adam Digby, Italy Correspondent

Gianluigi Buffon does not believe Daniele De Rossi's problems at Roma have a bearing on the Italy squad as they prepare for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

De Rossi, 29, was left of the Giallorossi starting line-up for their 2-0 victory against Atalanta on Sunday after being dropped by manager Zdenek Zeman.

The midfielder is currently training with his country ahead of the matches against Armenia on Friday and Denmark on Tuesday but Buffon is adamant that the player's personal situation has not had an effect on the rest of the players.

"The atmosphere is normal," Buffon said. "There is nothing complicated about it - it just so happened that on Sunday the coach decided to not play Daniele. You do not know the real reasons. But regardless, his value and contribution to our team go way above any problems he has.

"We have him, we are all close and we are happy he is in our squad. Players bring their club worries to the national team all the time - that is commonplace. But the national team is immune from all this negativity."

The Azzurri captain also went on to discuss manager Cesare Prandelli's decision to recall Mario Balotelli as well as the continued exclusion of Antonio Cassano.

"We are trying to carry out a project with fresh faces, young players who are being given a chance on the biggest of stages," he said. "Hopefully these players will grow quickly on a technical level, because Brazil 2014 is not so far away.

"We all know Mario's value. We expect him to produce the quality he is capable of on the field and help us win games. He has that ability.

"The exclusion of Cassano? I am not surprised. These are the choices the coach has to make. I do not think, however, that the coach has closed the door in his face."

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