Cristian Vieri believes that criticism of the decision of Roberto Mancini to call a native of Argentina, Mateo Retegui to the Italian national team, is a “dinosaur business”.
Born and raised in Argentina, Retegui has spent his entire career in South America and does not speak Italian, but was qualified in the Azzurri by his grandparents.
The striker, who considered Vieri his idol, made his Italy bow this month by scoring against England and Malta, leading to links with Inter.
There is still skepticism about his role with the Italian side, with Mario Balotelli among those suggesting that Mancini rely on players closer to home.
But that’s not an assessment Vieri agrees with, having grown up in Australia before representing Italy in two World Cups.
“They are poor people,” Vieri told Corriere della Sera of the critics. “This is the ancient mentality of the dinosaurs.
“In Australia, I grew up with children from all over the world.”
He added about Retegi: “It’s a promising, positive impact. A very beautiful goal against England, perfect control and immediate, accurate shooting, as well as a clean goal from the center forward in Malta.
“Mancio was right again: if he sees a good player, he leaves him without any problems. In any case, Mateo should play and add a lot more.”
2 – Before Mateo #retags, the last three players to score in the first two games for Italy were Riccardo Orsolini (November 2020), Enrico Chiesa (June 1996) and Giorgio Chinaglia (September 1972). Speed.#MaltaItaly pic.twitter.com/TWAzUxIZwD
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 26, 2023
Mancini has repeatedly pointed out the lack of Italian talent in Serie A forward positions, which is perhaps best exemplified by the league’s runaway Napoli.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Georgia and Victor Osimkhen of Nigeria inspired their outstanding campaign and are considered one of the stars of Vieri’s season – they all play for Parthenopei and none of them are Italian.
“Kim (Min Jae) comes first,” Vieri said. “Kim Kardashian, I say.
Seriously, I didn’t even know who he was. And here I remember (the work of the sports director of Napoli Cristiano) Giuntoli. I was very impressed with the personality of the Korean.
“Then, of course, there is Kvaratskhelia – he seems like George Best to me because of the way he walks, drips, even because of his hair.
“I say Osimhen, devastating. Italy have completed him in every way, and today he is one of the top three strikers in the world.
“Finally, we must not lose sight of the ‘old’ (Stanislav) Lobotka, who reminds me of Javi, the man who was wrong every 10-12 months.”
Can Napoli win the Champions League like the Scudetto?
“It won’t come as a surprise to me, even if they have to be very careful with Milan,” Vieri said.