Pazzini - No Gilardino rivalry

Striker insists no rivalry with fellow Italian hot-shot ahead of finals

Pazzini: Eyeing finals

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Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini insists there is no rivalry with Alberto Gilardino as he bids to make his first World Cup finals.

The 26-year-old is vying for a place in Marcello Lippi's squad after enjoying a prolific campaign to help Sampdoria into the UEFA Champions League this term.

The striker, who has scored once in six appearances for the Azzurri, is now trying his hardest at Italy's training camp in the Italian Alps in a bid to make it to South Africa.

But even if he does make the squad, he is still likely to start behind former Fiorentina team-mate Alberto Gilardino for a place in Lippi's team.

It was Gilardino's form for the Viola which forced Pazzini to move to Sampdoria in search of first-team football, but the striker insists there is no rivalry between the pair.

Get on

"I get on well with Alberto, who has helped me out even after I left Fiorentina," he said.

"There's no rivalry, I am extremely happy when he does well."

As regards his chance of making the finals, he added: "I am doing all I can to give the coach difficult decisions and make it to the World Cup, which would be my first."

Meanwhile, the striker has added his voice to the growing criticism of the Adidas World Cup ball, branding it a "disaster."

Lippi's squad have been training with the ball in a bid to become accustomed to it but Pazzini believes it moves too much.

He said: "The balls are a disaster, both for goalkeepers and attackers.

Difficult

"It moves so much and makes it difficult to control. You jump up to head a cross and suddenly the ball will move and you miss it.

"It is especially bad for the goalkeepers if it means they concede a goal because they can't judge the trajectory.

"It is like one of those balls you buy at the supermarket."

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar has also hit out at the ball, declaring it "horrible" and "terrible."