Cassano? I Don't Need To Explain – Lippi

Italy coach Marcello Lippi talked about the good form of Roma's Matteo Brighi, and also answered the usual questions on Antonio Cassano, who has yet to be called up since Lippi started his second stint as Azzurri coach

At one point he was considered one of the most talented young players in Italian football, even winning the Serie A Young Footballer of the Year award in 2002 and making an appearance for the national team that year under Giovanni Trapattoni. However, since then midfielder Matteo Brighi never quite managed to live up to his promise.

Until this season, that is. Currently playing for Roma, after a number of stints at mid-table clubs such as Bologna, Chievo, Parma, and Brescia, the 27-year-old is having a fine season and on Wednesday night he probably had the best night of his footballing career as he scored a brace in the Champions League match away to Cluj.

Brighi's impressive recent form has not left Italy coach Marcello Lippi indifferent.

"I am happy for Brighi," he said, "because he's a very good lad. A very serious player who is doing very well. I hope he continues playing like this, and then who knows..."

Lippi also briefly spoke about Antonio Cassano, who has been hugely impressive recently for Sampdoria, but hasn't been called up to the Azzurri since Euro 2008.

"I am the one who decide and I don't need to give explanations," he commented. "No one has ever said that Cassano lacks the qualities to be a part of the group. The choices I make certainly aren't because of that."

Cassano was also left out of the squad for the 2006 World Cup, but took part in both Euro 2004 and Euro 2008. Perhaps Lippi is being a bit superstitious, as we all know which of the aforementioned tournaments were won by the Azzurri under the coach's leadership...

Danilo Pochini