I feel Italian and will defend the Azzurri shirt forever, says Schelotto

The winger was born in Buenos Aires but argues his patriotism is beyond dispute, explaining that he owes his adopted nation for welcoming him and his family so warmly
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Ezequiel Schelotto does not believe that his commitment to the Azzurri cause should be called into question just because he is not Italian by birth.

The Atalanta winger's inclusion in Cesare Prandelli's preliminary squad for Euro 2012 raised a few eyebrows, not least because the 22-year-old was born in Buenos Aires.

However, Schelotto insists that while he has not forgotten his roots, he now feels Italian and would like to think that he proved as much during his seven outings for his adopted nation's Under-21 side.

"My dream is to make my debut and to play with the Nazionale," he told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

"I was born in Argentina and do not forget my country, but Italy has given and helped me and my family so much.

"I dedicate this call-up to my family, to the guys at Atalanta and to my great-grandfather, who was from Cogoleto. I did not know him but if it were not for him, I would not have a passport and the Italian shirt.

"I feel Italian and I will defend this shirt forever. I know the national anthem, I will sing it, as I already have done two years ago with the Under-21 side."

Schelotto was a surprise inclusion in Prandelli's provisional squad as he had never before been called up by the former Fiorentina boss, but the right-sided midfielder is coming off the back of a fine season in Bergamo.