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Source: Football Italia

Marcello Lippi reveals he has given his FIFA World Player of the Year vote to Andriy Shevchenko and reassures Antonio Cassano.

“The extraordinary consistency with which Shevchenko finds the net suggests he deserves to win it,” explained the Italy boss. “I have already voted in his favour. The only one who might be able to snatch it away is Deco because of the number of trophies he won in 2004.”

The Milan hitman is the hot favourite to take both the Balon d’Or and the FIFA Award this month and can now count on the support of Italy’s international Coach.

In an interview with RAI DUE programme ‘10 minuti’ Lippi also commented on the future of controversial figure Antonio Cassano.

“Cassano is a great champion who above all needs to find his consistency at club level. Once that is sorted out and he has relaxed into the role, he can be considered for the Azzurri.”

The Roma star could be called up for February’s international friendly in preparation for the World Cup qualifier in Scotland. His row with Gigi Del Neri saw him sidelined from both teams, but he made an impressive return to form with four assists in their 4-0 drubbing of Siena last week.

The lack of big star names in the 1-0 friendly win over Finland saw Messina’s Stadio San Filippo remain half-empty, but Lippi insists there is no lack of affection for the Azzurri.

“I want to see an Italy squad that is determined and brimming with enthusiasm. Despite what some may say, I have learned from my own experience in this job that players are passionate about representing their country and are only too happy to engage in international duty.”
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