Roberto Mancini announced that it’s possible that he could welcome back Gianluigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi for one last Italy outing.
Both De Rossi and Buffon retired from international football following Italy’s shock World Cup playoff defeat to Sweden in November 2017. However, the latter did briefly return for a friendly against Argentina in 2018.
Since the World Cup winners stepped down, though, Italy’s fortunes have improved drastically under Mancini.
The former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss has sealed the Blues’ spot in next summer’s Euro 2020 with three games to spare following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Greece in Group J.
And now Mancini has opened the door for De Rossi and Buffon to make a farewell appearance for Italy.
“They are the only two players remaining in activity from the 2006 World Cup,” he told reporters.
“It is possible and it would be nice.”
41-year-old Buffon currently plays for Serie A champions Juventus after a season away at Paris Saint-Germain. He is the most capped player in Italy’s history having made 176 appearances in total.
While De Rossi, who is 36, plays for Argentinian giants Boca Juniors following his summer exit from AS Roma. The midfielder also passed the century-mark by making 117 international outings.
Although the duo and any potential newbies may have to wait a bit before Mancini gives them the thumbs up as Italy’s place at the top of Group J isn’t sealed yet. Currently, they hold a nine-point lead over Finland.
“A good ranking is crucial for the draw, so we have to end the group well,” added Mancini.
“There will be some lads who can make their debuts, for example, Sandro Tonali, Gaetano Castrovilli and Giovanni Di Lorenzo. We can’t call them all together, though.”
Italy will now head out to Liechtenstein for their next Euro 2020 qualifier on Tuesday, where a point will secure them first place in Group J.