Vol. 5 Num 990 Wed. March 14, 2007  

Totti ends int'l wilderness

AS Roma captain Francesco Totti has said he will be once again available for international selection starting from September, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced here on Monday.

The on-form striker should now be present for the world champions decisive Euro 2008 qualifiers against the team they beat in the 2006 World Cup final France on September 8 and the Ukraine four days later.

The FIGC statement also said that national coach Roberto Donadoni and vice-president of the federation Gigi Riva had held talks with Totti to "be assured of his willingness to return to the national team....on the basis he would be able to combine his club engagements in the championship and Cup with those of the national side."

Totti decided to hang up his international boots following Italy's victorious campaign at the 2006 World Cup finals held in Germany.

The 30-year-old Totti failed to fully recover from a fractured fibula suffered in a league game just three months before the World Cup.

And though the Italian striker made the finals he could not quite find the form he had prior to the accident and subsequently decided to quit the national team and concentrate on club football.

However Totti, who has 58 caps for his country with nine goals, will look to carry over his impressive Serie A form and help propel the Squadra Azzuri to the Euro 2008 finals beginning on June 7 and which is being co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria.

Totti has been on target for his club this season and is the league's leading scorer firing 18 goals in 27 matches.

AS Roma presently occupy second place in the Serie A behind leaders Inter and recently qualified for the Champions League quarterfinal after dismissing French side Lyon last week.