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Pirlo kicks the sun

The Toe Poke
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 By Ben Gladwell

Giampiero Ventura to give Federico Chiesa Italy training camp chance

Giampiero Ventura wants to encourage Italy's stars of the future.

Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has said he wants to take a look at Fiorentina's Federico Chiesa when he holds a training camp in February.

Ventura is expected to use the opportunity to evaluate players on the fringes of the national team, and Chiesa's performance in Fiorentina's weekend win over Juventus has attracted the coach's attention.

"He had already been pointed out to me and I saw him in the game against Juventus and it was a pleasant surprise," Ventura told reporters in Florence.

"I think...

Andrea Belotti's rise from Italy's third tier to become a €100m Arsenal target

FC's Gab Marcotti recaps the Turin derby, which saw Juve win 3-1, and star men Gonzalo Higuain and Andrea Belotti deliver.

As Arsenal have reportedly failed in their bid to sign Andrea Belotti, here is all you need to know about the 23-year-old Italian striker who took Europe by storm last year.

He had a difficult start

Belotti is one of the hottest names nowadays, but he wasn't highly rated in his youth. Atalanta's academy decided against signing him, and he later mostly sat on the bench at the Primavera of the small AlbinoLeffe outfit. Belotti started out as a midfielder, without significant success, and was later...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Andrea Pirlo begins 2017 in typical Pirlo fashion by kicking the sun

How many players, past or present, do you know that would feel confident in trying to kick the sun?

Of course, the only appropriate answer here is Andrea Pirlo.

When it comes to the Italian maestro, all the world's a set piece and we are merely dead balls, waiting to be curled around a wall. In this case, the ball is the sun and the ocean is his barrier. We're guessing this went in off the underside...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Italian federation, league presidents disagree on idea of holiday fixtures

The FC crew debate the importance of the Italian Super Cup after Milan topped Juventus to end a five-year trophy drought.
Italy federation president Carlo Tavecchio doesn't want Serie A to adopt holiday fixtures.

The presidents of Serie A and the Italian Football Federation disagree on the prospect of playing games over the holidays and outside of Italy.

Like most major leagues in Europe, Serie A is in the midst of a winter break and does not resume play until Jan. 7.

The Premier League has continued to schedule games in England over that time, but FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio dismissed the idea of following that example.

"Christmas in Italy is a sacred time and must be respected. In that week it's crucial...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Daniele De Rossi did not suffer calf muscle tear in Juventus defeat - Roma

Gab Marcotti says the only thing that could affect Juventus' seven-point lead in Serie A is a deep Champions League run.

Daniele De Rossi did not suffered a calf muscle tear during Roma's defeat to Juventus on Saturday, tests have shown.

There had been fears that defender De Rossi could face a long spell on the sidelines after he was taken off in the 1-0 loss to the Serie A champions.

But a Roma statement said the 33-year-old Italy international had not torn a muscle, adding that a further assessment of his fitness would be carried out at training on Wednesday.