Chiellini's three-match ban won't affect his selection chances for World Cup, says Italy manager Prandelli
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has been imposed with a ban for three matches after he elbowed AS Roma’s Miralem Pjanic during Juventus 1-0 win on Sunday.
However, Chiellini was facing the risk of being dropped from the Italian national team as Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has always followed a strict code of ethics regarding the selection of players who have been suspended while playing for their respective clubs.
“I was just trying to block him,” Chiellini was quoted on Football Italia. “It was a manly game with some determined challenges from both sides. I apologised to Pjanic for the contact, but there are no problems between us. In games like this I’ve given a few knocks and received quite a few as well.”
“I wasn’t trying to elbow him, as I was just trying to block him from moving out of the wall, the same way you do in basketball. We were jostling each other, the referee saw and evaluated everything. You can’t say that just glancing by someone is the same as punching them in the face. People are trying to build up controversy that doesn’t exist,” he added.
Mattia Destro of Roma faced a similar kind of situation when he was dropped from the squad after he was punished with a four-match ban for punching Cagliari defender Davide Astori last month.
“Anyone who messes around will stay at home, because it will mean that they can’t handle the pressure of a World Cup,” Prandelli told ANSA said following the incident.
The challenge that Chiellini was given a three-match ban for:
While recently speaking to ANSA, Prandelli dismissed reports suggesting the exclusion of 28-year-old Chiellini from the squad. “I have looked again and again at what Chiellini did. For me, it is not a violent act,” he said. “Do I expect criticism for my decision? My code of ethics has been controversial for four years!”
“Maximum respect to the sport justice [who imposed the ban on Chiellini],” Prandelli continued. “But they are two different channels, as I have always said. For me, his action does not fall into a violent gesture as he did not lift his arm to hurt. I am responsible for our behavior, so for me, it is not a violent act.”
Italy are yet to announce their 30-man preliminary World Cup squad, and Chiellini is most likely to receive a call-up.