Roma’s talent has abandoned the 2022 World Cup. Why did he take such a risk?
Christian Volpato has turned down a call to the Australian national team.
José Mourinho’s team is the youngest in Serie A among the top 7, with an average age of 25.3 years. In addition to Nicolo Zaniolo, there are other young people in Rome: Nicola Zalewski and Roger Ibanez are consistently the main ones, and a new generation is ready to burst off the bench – among them Christian Volpato.
The 18-year-old playmaker moved to the first team from the U19s in the summer, and since this season he has been slowly trained in the cage. So far, Volpato’s main performance is coming on as a substitute against Verona: then the Romans in the majority could not crack the opponent’s defense, but with the release of Christian, the game went on: the young man himself eventually scored 1+1 and turned the game from 0:1 to 2:1 . Interestingly, he scored the debut goal in professional football for Verona at the end of last season – also coming on as a substitute.
Christian Volpato celebrating the winning goal against Verona in the 88th minute
Photo: Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Volpato is a native of Australia: he was born there, took his first steps there and graduated from the Sydney Academy there, from where he later moved to Italy. It would seem that there is every chance of becoming an Australian star following the example of Tim Cahill – he could play for England and Ireland. But this is not an option for a young player – he does everything to play for the main Italian team. And even a call to the Australian team for the 2022 World Cup did not stop him.
Australians head coach Graham Arnold says: “I tried to convince Volpato until 11 pm and talked three times, before that I had spoken to him several times. He returned in the evening and turned down an offer to play for Australia in the World Cup. In the end, it’s his decision.”
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Are Volpato’s chances of playing for Italy real?
He refused – because playing for Italy for Christian is a big dream. He stated this repeatedly. And at the youth level, he also plays for the Italians. He is appreciated there: most recently he made his debut for the U20 team (remember that he is 18) – from there there is a direct road to the first team.
It seems that breaking into the adult team of Italy is much more difficult than the Australian team – but not everything is so bad. Firstly, because there are not so many playmakers in the Italian national team: there, in the competition, is his partner in Roma, Lorenzo Pellegrini. With a stretch, you can still attribute Nicolo Barella, although he acts deeper and with other tasks.
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Volpato is an unusual player: with a height of 187 cm, he plays with his head so-so, but he constantly goes to the stroke. Playing for youth teams, Christian constantly cheated two or three players and rolled out to partners. He has a good vision of the field, but not such a good long pass yet. A player with these qualities is an interesting option for Italy. In any case, the midfielder has no choice: he is unlikely to be called to the Australian national team after this – it remains to fulfill his cherished dream.