Azzurri threaten press black-out

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Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro has threatened a press-silence on behalf of the whole squad, after recent reports in his country's media.

Cannavaro has been forced to confront the press after reports suggested there was unrest amongst some of the players - particularly Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti.

Totti was singled out for special praise by coach Giovanni Trapattoni - which was reportedly the catalyst for some of the unrest - while the fact that the veteran coach named his preferred starting XI last week is also thought to have caused disharmony.

However, Cannavaro has reacted with anger and insists the Azzurri are united and that the press will not receive their co-operation unless they stop their criticism.

"I have read things that I didn't like," Cannavaro said.

"The respect is lacking. We're here to build, not to destroy. It seems we are quarrelling all the time.

"Should the press want to help us, it will be good - if not, we'll continue as always.

"The press-silence is an extreme measure."

Totti and England-born Simone Perrotta have also been forced to defend their party's status.

"I'm flattered that the coach made this comparison, but I think that there are many other players here who can make the difference," said Totti.

"We are a strong group, we all want to win and are all pulling in the same direction," he said Thursday.

"No one player can win a match on his own. Every player has his own role to play and if everyone does their job, we can win something.

"We've read things that we don't like and it shows a complete lack of respect."

Chievo star Perrotta added: "There is harmony and serenity within the group.

"If someone risks not playing it's only normal to be upset, but none of us has ever disrespected another team-mate.

"There are 23 of us here, and since we hope to play six matches, we hope that we can all play. As always, only Trapattoni can decide."

The Italian World Cup winning squad of 1982 also had a falling out with the press in the build up to the tournament in Spain and many Azzurri fans are seeing this as a good omen for the side.

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