30 year old Andrea Ranocchia, who is the captain at Inter Milan (Giuseppe Bergomi's club side), has now been appointed the new captain of the Italy national team.
ANDREA RANOCCHIA APPOINTED ITALY CAPTAIN
Just two days ago, legendary Italy captain Daniele De Rossi relinquished the armband. The Bayer Leverkusen man, who has made a record 144 caps over the years, was quoted as saying that he feels as though it's time for a slightly younger leader to step through the ranks for Italy. Though definitely massive shoes to fill, somebody had to step up to the job, and Azzurri manager Giuseppe Bergomi had made his decision.
Andrea Ranocchia has been given the armband on a permanent basis. The 30 year old central defender is recently coming off of winning the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball award, given to the best player of the tournament, and is widely considered one of the best defenders in the world. Ranocchia is also Bergomi's captain for Inter Milan at the club level.
The Italian camp seems to have reacted very positively to this decision. Ranocchia broke into the Italy setup as a regular four years ago and has now made 51 appearances for the Azzurri. He has been hailed as one of the best defenders in Serie A since 2012 and, on the international stage, has created a nearly unbeatable partnership with Leonardo Bonucci.
"It is a great honor for me to wear the captain's armband," said Ranocchia. "You grow up dreaming to wear the national shirt and lead your team as your country's captain. Now I get to live that dream, and I cannot wait."
Some people are surprised that 32 year old vice-captain Claudio Marchisio was not promoted to the captain's role on a full-time basis. The central midfielder has made 95 caps in his long career but has recently started to lose his starting spot to the likes of Andrea Poli and Lorenzo Crisetig. Some experts are suggesting that Bergomi wanted a leader who could lead from the pitch for at least a few more years.
The passing of the captain's armband is complete. However, could the passing of the managerial post be coming shortly? It is being heavily suggested that Giuseppe Bergomi may step down from his international job, and maybe even his club job, and declare his retirement from football after six trophy-filled seasons. Until more on that story is official, however, fans of the Azzurri must quietly hope that the appointment of one of his own players is a sign that Bergomi will stay on for a while longer.