Italy calls up 3 new players for friendlies against Venezuela and Ecuador

AP , Friday 15 Mar 2024

Torino right back Raoul Bellanova, Hellas Verona midfielder Michael Folorunsho and Udinese forward Lorenzo Lucca were called up to Italy’s squad for the first time on Friday.

Lorenzo Lucca
Udinese's Lorenzo Lucca celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Serie A football match between Lazio and Udinese, at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Monday, March 11, 2024. Photo: AP


Italy has friendlies against Venezuela and Ecuador in the United States next week.

With key winger Domenico Berardi out long term after tearing the right Achilles tendon two weeks ago, coach Luciano Spalletti will likely rely on Federico Chiesa, Giacomo Raspadori and Mateo Retegui in attack.

Atalanta forward Gianluca Scamacca was left out.

The Azzurri will face Venezuela for the first time on Thursday at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium — the home of Lionel Messi — then play Ecuador three days later at the home of the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey.

Bellanova has been on Italy youth teams at every level. Folorunsho, who is of Nigerian descent, has scored four goals for Verona this season while on loan from Napoli. Lucca, who spent last season on loan at Ajax, has eight goals in 30 Serie A and Italian Cup matches for Udinese.

Italy has played Ecuador twice, winning 2-0 at the 2002 World Cup and drawing 1-1 in a friendly in New York in 2005, the last time the Azzurri travelled to the U.S.

Italy will use the matches as warmups for its European Championship defense. Luciano Spalletti’s side is in a group with Spain, Croatia and Albania at Euro 2024, which kicks off on June 14 in Germany.

Italy squad:

Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Atalanta), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham).

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Inter Milan), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), Raoul Bellanova (Torino), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter Milan), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter Milan), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Destiny Udogie (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter Milan), Giacomo Bonaventura (Fiorentina), Michael Folorunsho (Hellas Verona) Davide Frattesi (Inter Milan), Jorginho (Arsenal), Manuel Locatelli (Juventus), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma).

Forwards: Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Lorenzo Lucca (Udinese), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Mateo Retegui (Genoa), Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio), Nicolò Zaniolo (Aston Villa).

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