Italy reeling from Pessotto scare

Italy’s players say they are struggling to focus on football after the apparent suicide attempt of former Juventus and Azzurri defender Gianluca Pessotto.

    Pessotto played 22 times for the Azzurri

    Pessotto, 35, is in a serious but not a life-threatening condition after jumping from his office window in Turin on Tuesday.

    The news came as a huge shock to the Italian squad on Wednesday, at a time when they should have been celebrating their last-gasp win over Australia and looking ahead to Friday’s quarter-final against Ukraine.

    Pessotto’s former team-mate and Italy goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, admitted he is struggling to concentrate on the showdown.

    "I'm finding it difficult at the moment, almost impossible, to talk about football or matches and all the emotions that you're supposed to feel at a World Cup," he said.

    Flying visit

    Juventus players Gianluca Zambrotta and Alessandro Del Piero left the Azzurri’s training camp along with Italy coach Ciro Ferrara to fly by private jet to visit Pessotto in hospital, returning the same night.

    Buffon said the news they brought was encouraging.

    "I'm finding it difficult at the moment, almost impossible, to talk about football"

    Gianluigi Buffon

    "They came back with some words of comfort to the training camp where we were waiting anxiously."

    Pessotto's injuries are the latest incident to challenge Italy's efforts to lift the World Cup for a fourth time as the squad tries to emerge from the shadow cast by a match-fixing scandal threatening the Italian league.

    Juventus are at the centre of the allegations and Pessotto was named team manager after the club's entire board resigned.

    Solid professional

    He is not personally implicated in the scandal but is believed to have been suffering from depression.

    He hit two cars after jumping from his office on Tuesday and was found by police clutching a string of rosary beads.

    Pessotto, the archetypal utility player, retired from playing last month after 11 years with Juventus that saw him when 6 Serie A titles and the 1996 Champions League.

    He appeared 22 times for Italy and played in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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