Italy are set on their quest to conquer the world, but Pablo Daniel Osvaldo wouldn’t play any part in that. That’s because the 28-year-old has not been included by coach Cesare Prandelli in his 30-man provisional World Cup squad.
Born in Argentina, Osvaldo became an Italian citizen and made his debut for the Azzurri in October 2011 against Northern Ireland. He has since gone onto play 11 more times for his adopted country, scoring four goals in the process.
The Southampton striker, who joined Juventus on loan in January, featured in Italy’s final World Cup qualifiers and even started their last match against Spain – which was a friendly international in Madrid and ended in a 1-0 win for the hosts. However, he was left out of the 30-man squad for football’s biggest tournament which starts next month.
Osvaldo has suffered a largely frustrating season. He moved to Southampton from Roma last summer for €15.1 million (£12.8m), but failed to really get a grip on the English game and was also involved in a training ground bust-up with Jose Fonte. He was subsequently suspended by the Saints and left for Juventus on January 31 after scoring just three goals in 13 Premier League appearances.
Even at Juventus, Osvaldo has failed to recapture his form that he showed at Roma between 2011 and 2013, scoring just one goal and providing as many assists in 10 Serie A matches. He is unlikely to return to Southampton, and it is not yet clear if Juve are ready to pay what Premier League club would demand for a permanent deal.
Amidst all this, Osvaldo has now found himself out of reckoning for Italy and has admitted that he was “disappointed and upset” at his omission, while also hinting that he should have been rewarded for his loyalty.
‘I had been part of this group for two years and always felt important, so I was disappointed and upset at not being called up’, he told Sky Sport Italia. ‘It was a strange year for me, but having always been called in the past – and even starting in the last friendly against Spain in March – I hoped to be included’.
However, Osvaldo did manage not to lash out and was quick to point out that the strikers who have been called up deserved it. No fewer than seven forwards are in contention to make the final 23: Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli, Giuseppe Rossi, Alessio Cerci, Mattia Destro, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile.
‘However, this takes nothing away from the forwards who were called’, said Osvaldo. ‘The statistics show they deserved it’.