Australian-born AS Roma talent Cristian Volpato has explained why he rejected a call-up to the Socceroos team for World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold revealed he wanted to select Volpato in the 26-man squad for the tournament which begins on December 21 (AEDT).
But the 18-year-old chose to decline the call-up as the winger is still eligible to play for Italy at international level – ironically a nation that failed to qualify for the World Cup.
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Volpato released a post on social media that outlines his reasoning for rejecting Australia, stating he wasn’t ready to make a decision.
“I’ve seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level: the truth is that I am still just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma,” Volpato wrote on Instagram stories.
“Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.
“There will be plenty of time for me to take the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be on continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player.
“For now, it’s time to focus on the game against Sassuolo!”
Despite the rejection from Volpato, Arnold left the door open for the talented attacker to play for the Socceroos in the future.
“You’ve got to understand that it’s a big decision for the kid, he made that decision and he declined our opportunity to come to play for Australia at the World Cup,” Arnold said on Fox Sports News.
“It doesn’t mean that he won’t do that in the future.
“He’s a young kid, he’s just starting out in his journey of football. He’s a beautiful kid and I understand the tough decision he had to make and we move on.”
Volpato has been subject of an international tug of war since he joined Serie A giants AS Roma and started playing for Italy’s international youth teams.
The teenager has starred for Jose Mourinho’s Roma in recent weeks, scoring the winner against Hellas Verona in Serie A, while picking up minutes in all competitions for the Italian side.
Volpato struggled to make a name for himself while developing as a talent in Australia and couldn’t break through in the youth teams at Sydney FC or Western Sydney Wanderers between 2016-2020.
The winger was snapped up by Roma after a successful trial with the club in 2020, before making his debut for Italy under-19’s earlier this year.
Volpato courted controversy earlier this year when he mocked Australia on social media after his birth nation failed to qualify directly for World Cup 2022.
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