Roma playmaker Francesco Totti says he would consider returning to Italy's national team for the World Cup - and he has appeared to get the green light from coach Marcello Lippi.
|Totti has been in goalscoring form for Roma in Serie A this season [EPA]
It comes a day after veteran Azzuri captain Fabio Cannavaro was cleared of doping following treatment for a bee sting.
Hobbled by injuries in recent years, the 33-year-old Totti retired from international play after Italy won the trophy 2006.
But he told Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport that the matter rested with Lippi – and his own fitness.
"It depends on the coach's choices and my condition," he said.
"I owe (Lippi) a lot."
Struggling in attack of late, Italy are in desperate need of a player with Totti's all-round skills.
The Roma captain has scored nine goals in 53 appearances for Italy, and has six goals in Roma's first seven games in Serie A.
Lippi leaves leeway
Lippi says he is not ruling out calling up Totti.
"Totti is a great person and a great player," Lippi said on Tuesday.
"I know there will be controversies (about selections) between now and June. I enjoy them, bring them on. I'm not excluding anything."
Lippi suggested he had little doubt that Totti would come running if he called.
"Up to now, no one has ever said no to my national team," he said.
Lippi said he would change all 11 players in his starting line-up for Wednesday's final World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in Parma after his team booked their place in South Africa with a 2-2 draw in Ireland on Saturday.
Cannavaro was cleared of doping on Monday after failing a drugs test following treatment for an insect sting.
The Juventus defender received emergency cortisone treatment for a sting on August 28 and failed a dope test after a Serie A match two days later.
The 36-year-old had requested an exemption for the medication but did not receive it before he was tested because of a mix-up over the documentation.
Cannavaro said on Monday his club had messed up with the exemption request but blasted the media for their handling of the story.
"I'm furious," Cannavaro said at the training centre near Florence where Italy are preparing for their final 2010 World Cup qualifier against Cyprus.
"My conscience is clean.
"You get stung by a bee and then you find yourself in the newspaper as if you had been doping. Some newspapers and television channels went too far."