This Thursday, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, said he is working on the naturalization of three Brazilian players. Fullbacks Ibañez and Luiz Felipe and forward João Pedro play in Italy and are in the crosshairs of the national team. Still looking for a spot for the 2022 World Cup, the FIGC is looking to give more options to the Italian national team coach, Roberto Mancini.
Roger Ibañez is a 23-year-old defender who has made a name for himself in Rome. Revealed by Fluminense, the defender, who has dual Uruguayan nationality, even played professionally for the Rio de Janeiro team before moving to Atalanta in 2018. Since then, the defender has been in Italian football and moved to Roma in 2019 There, he spent two seasons on loan and, this season, he was permanently hired by the team in the capital.
In the current season, Ibañez has 19 games and three goals scored under the command of José Mourinho. The athlete became important to the team, but was unable to get Tite’s attention, not receiving calls. Thus, the athlete can defend the Italian team if he becomes naturalized. Ibañez played six games for the Olympic team, but these games do not count as official games.
Another defender targeted by the Italian national team is Luiz Felipe, 24 years old. The athlete has defended Lazio, another team in the capital, since 2016. The defender debuted as a starter for Ituano in 2016 and, in the same year, was hired by Lazio. At first, the athlete was loaned to Salernitana, but soon returned to biancocelesti, where he established himself as an important part of the starting lineup, drawing the attention of the FIGC.
Luiz Felipe never took the field for the Brazilian professional team, without even having been called up. The defender even played twice for the Olympic team. In 2019, after acquiring dual nationality, the player was called up by Luigi di Bagio for the Italian Under-21 team, but he refused the offer, as he preferred to wait for opportunities for the Brazilian team. Those chances did not come and, two years later, the Italian Football Federation hopes its position has changed.
In attack, the Italian team has its eyes on João Pedro, 29 years old. Revealed by Atlético-MG, the player played 13 times for the starting lineup of Galo before traveling abroad, passing through Palermo, Italy, and Vitória de Guimarães, Portugal. After erased spells, the forward played for Peñarol in 2012, where he had greater prominence and managed to transfer to Santos in the same year. Pelo Peixe, had passed out and left the team in 2013 to join Estoril Praia, from Portugal, where he had better performance. The success in the Portuguese team transferred him to Cagliari, where he has played since the 2014/15 season, being an important name in the squad.
For the national team, João Pedro played only in the Under-17 category, where he has three appearances, according to the website oGol. Thus, the athlete interests the Italians and already has dual citizenship, which would facilitate the process for the player to defend Azzurra.
Currently, the Italian team has Emerson Palmieri, Rafael Tolói and Jorginho as naturalized Brazilian players, who were in the 2021 Euro Cup title. In addition, in recent years, the Italians have been called up by Amauri, Éder, Thiago Motta and Rômulo.
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Aiming at three more Brazilians for its squad, Mancini’s team is going through a complex situation in the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, in Qatar. Azzurra was behind Switzerland in Group C and will need to compete in the repechage to seek a place in the World Cup.
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