Del Piero ready to lead
Juventus veteran happy to guide Italy squad
By James Pearson. Last Updated: June 7, 2008 3:45pm
Del Piero: Feels like the leader
Alessandro Del Piero feels like Italy's captain even though he is unlikely to start their Euro 2008 opener against Holland.
"If you ask me if I feel like the captain, I say I do."
Del Piero Quotes of the week
Head coach Roberto Donadoni is yet to name his stand-in skipper for the tournament after Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out through injury.
Del Piero is the highest-capped player left in Donadoni's squad on 86 appearances, but he has not started a game under the Italy coach since September.
"Even if there are others who can wear the armband because of personality rather than caps, if you ask me if I feel like the captain, I say I do," stated Del Piero.
Italy are expected to start with one up front for this summer's championship in Austria and Switzerland, a situation that does not bother Del Piero even though he prefers to play as a second striker.
"I have no particular expectations (for the Netherlands match). As always I will prepare to be at 110 percent," he continued.
"My career, the facts, say I am a second striker but there is no diktat."
Meanwhile, veteran defender Christian Panucci expects to be fit for Monday's clash against the Oranje despite a niggling knee injury.
"It's a bit better even if it is a little swollen," he stated. "I really think I'll be there.
"At this moment there is a bit of pain but tomorrow it will be better."