Calcio Debate: Why Italy Should Take Amauri From Brazil

The Azzurri are clearly his second choice, but they should swallow their pride and swoop for a recruit they won't regret, writes's Sulmaan Ahmad...
We've seen this before. Amauri was right up there as one of the most nauseating figures of the summer, ahead of Ricardo Quaresma but behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Milan were vying with Juventus for his signature as Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini sat back, shot from the mouth and waited for the money to come rolling in.

Milan's summer money went into signing Ronaldinho, so Juve were left to swoop for the beast from Brazil, paying over €15 million, offering starlet David Lanzafame in a co-ownership deal and allowing Antonio Nocerino to head to Sicily on a permanent basis. All this for a 28-year-old who had only really shown distinguished class at a mid-table club for one or two seasons.

Never mind his quality; Calcio fans were convinced that the striker would be surplus to requirements in light of Alessandro Del Piero finding some top form, David Trezeguet still guaranteeing goals and the small matter of Vincenzo Iaquinta in reserve. An injury to 'Trezegol' paved the way for the Brazilian beast to nail down a first team place.

Not only did he nail it down, he had it varnished, framed and hung from the highest point of the Stadio Olimpico. Amauri has, along with Giorgio Chiellini and of course legends Gianluigi Buffon and Del Piero, become one of the Old Lady's most valuable players. Trezeguet's poor fortune aside, this has been a point of celebration for the Turin giants. For all his posturing throughout the summer and the inflated price-tag, he has been brilliant so far this season.

No sooner had one issue been resolved that another reared its head. All season, Amauri has been torn over whether to represent Brazil or Italy at international level. The two are poised to meet next week in a friendly at the Emirates Stadium; weeks and months down the line, the powerhouse appears no closer to a resolution.

It appears obvious enough that his preferred choice, perhaps understandably, is to represent the country of his birth, Brazil. What has done less than enamour him with Azzurri fans, nation and worldwide, is his decision to keep Italy as his mistress, to whom he can return under a cloud of shame if his dream union with the Selecao doesn't materialise.

The matter has been exasperated by Amauri's continued delaying of a final decision, one way or another, as even a call-up to Brazil for next week's friendly was blocked by Juventus, as it was made too late.

Indeed, the big man was only called upon as a replacement for Luis Fabiano, who had to withdraw due to injury. This should tell Amauri and Italy everything they each need to know about Brazil and their coach, Dunga. Fabiano was in fine form last season but has always been an erratic performer, Adriano is not the player he was, Eduardo da Silva chose Croatia, Afonso Alves, for some reason unknown to man, chose Middlesbrough and consigned himself to a life of mediocrity and Ronaldo, well... let's just say that Brazil could really do with Amauri - but they don't want him.

And so, though it may bruise the ego of fiercely proud Italians such as the World Cup winner himself, Marcello Lippi, he simply cannot afford to keep looking this gift horse in the mouth. Italy have an embarrassment of 'good' forwards at their disposal, but none currently have the top-class international calibre required to head an attack such as that of the Azzurri. Amauri is about as good a direct replacement for the fading Luca Toni as anyone could ask for.

If Italy make him one of their own, he may never be the patriot they want - Mauro Camoranesi certainly isn't - but he will certainly fuel Italians' greatest passion: winning. Meanwhile, Dunga can be left to rue yet another dreadful decision during his tenure as Brazil coach and Italy, putting all socio-political issues aside, can reap the benefits on the pitch.

Sulmaan Ahmad,