Juventus star Andrea Pirlo has been added to Italy squad as a replacement for AC Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura.
The veteran playmaker missed out on the first two squads under Antonio Conte as he battled a hip injury, but he received a late call-up after proving his fitness in the derby clash against AS Roma.
Pirlo has joined as a replacement for AC Milan starlet Giacomo Bonaventura, who was forced to withdraw due to a thigh problem.
The 35-year-old surprisingly started the weekend’s derby against Roma as Arturo Vidal was punished for disciplinary breach and he spent some 80 minutes on the pitch before being replaced by the Chilean.
It remains to be seen whether Pirlo will be in the starting line-up when Italy host Azerbaijan on Friday, where the Azzurri are 1.53 (8/15) to win to nil.
Antonio Conte has served up several surprises when announcing the squad for games against Azerbaijan and Malta, handing call-ups to Graziano Pelle and Daniele Rugani.
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been overlooked, but Southampton’s Pablo Osvaldo has been recalled following some impressive performances while on loan at Inter Milan.