Andrea Pirlo, Italy's immutable maestro of the midfield, will miss the European Championships for the first time in his career.
Since debuting for the Azzurri in 2002, the NYCFC designated player and former Serie A mega-star has capped in all three Euro tournaments and all three World Cups to date. But when Antonio Conte revealed his preliminary 30-man squad today, he chose to flesh out his central midfield with an eye toward youth: AS Roma legend Daniele de Rossi and Lazio man Marco Parolo are the lone men in the middle over the age of 30, joined by the fresh legs of Marco Benassi (age 21, Torino), Danilo Cataldi (21, Lazio), Jorginho (24, Napoli), and Roberto Soriano (25, Sampdoria).
— Italy (@azzurri) May 23, 2016
This summer, Italy's loss will be New York City FC's gain. Patrick Viera was already tasked with having to make things work without fullback Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica) and midfielder Mix Diskerud (United States) during the upcoming Copa America Centenario. Today's news out of Italy brings with it peace of mind-- when healthy, Pirlo has been among the first names on Vieira's team sheets, and has routinely led NYCFC in touches.
There's no reason for il Maestro to take Conte's decision personally, however-- Toronto FC talisman Sebastian Giovinco, who dumps goals in MLS like Koch Industries dumps pollutants, was also left out of the Italy squad. So was Mario Balotelli! But somehow, some way, methinks the world will keep turning.