Defender Giorgio Chiellini has said that his fellow Italy and Juventus team mates are the most crucial players for the Italy World Cup squad.
“We had so much bad luck at the last World Cup, losing our two most important players [Pirlo, Buffon] to injury,” Chiellini told FIFA.com.
Pirlo was injured before the 2010 World Cup began, while Buffon came off injured mid-way through Italy’s opening match.
“It really had a negative impact on our campaign. But now that we’ve got them fit and firing again, we’re hoping to go much further, even though we’re in a tough group.”
Chiellini is slightly optimistic in his statement, because while Buffon has been training again, after sustaining an ankle injury earlier, the latest assessment on Thursday is that Buffon might not make the Costa Rica match.
Still, Italy have played well when both Pirlo and Buffon feature. When Italy won the 2006 World Cup and finished as finalists in the 2012 Euros, both were in the team.
“Pirlo and Buffon are our most important players,” said Chiellini.
“They’ve got character and they make the whole team play, so we need to take good care of them.”
Another Juventus defender, Claudio Marchisio, has expressed similar sentiments.
“I’ve had the privilege of playing and learning with them, mainly with Pirlo, who’s taught me a lot about positioning,” Marchisio said.
“They’ve been the mainstays of this team for the last four years and they’re going to be so important in a competition like this.”