Ultimatum for Totti and Nesta

By Xinhua

Rome : Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) chief Giancarlo Abete has given an ultimatum to Francesco Totti and Alessandro Nesta that they must decide whether they want to play for Italy by the end of this month.

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AS Roma captain Totti has not played for the Azzurri since last year’s World Cup final win over France. The 30-year-old player recently suggested he might come back from his self-imposed exile on a part-time basis, just playing Italy’s most important games.

AC Milan defender Nesta, also a member of the World Cup-winning squad, told Azzurri coach Roberto Donadoni he was considering retiring from international football last month.

“The situations of Totti and Nesta will be clarified by the end of July,” Abete said.

The FIGC chief said the doubts must be cleared up soon so that they do not overshadow Italy’s preparations for September’s Euro 2008 qualifiers against France and Ukraine, direct rivals for the two Group B qualification slots.

Italy are second in the group after seven games with 16 points, two behind leaders France. Scotland are third with 15 points, while Ukraine are fourth with 12 but they have a game in hand.