- Australia have won the race for Cristian Volpato
- The Sydney-born star is eligible to play for Italy
- But reports claim he is committed to the Socceroos
Australia’s long and at times frustrating chase for Cristian Volpato has paid off, with the youngster committing his international future to the Socceroos.
Graham Arnold has laid on the charm offensive to convince Volpato – who is eligible to play for Italy – to pledge his allegiance to Australia after making a blistering start to his career.
The former Western Sydney Wanderers talent broke into Jose Mourinho‘s Roma side last season and his performances convinced fellow Italian club Sassuolo to shell out $11.5million for his services over the summer.
While he has only made one appearance for the club thus far, he is viewed as the long-term replacement for Italy international and Euro 2020 winner Domineco Berardi.
Arnold attempted to convince Volpato to join his squad for the 2022 World Cup, but the youngster was not willing to commit to the Socceroos. That attempt saw the Aussie boss criticised by Mourinho for unsettling his player.
Graham Arnold has received a huge boost in his pursuit of Cristian Volpato
The former Roma hotshot has reportedly committed his future to the Socceroos
The Sydney-born attacker has played for Italy at youth level
But FTBL reports that Arnold visited Italy three weeks ago to hold talks with the 19-year-old, with the pair striking up a strong rapport during their chat.
Arnold hinted that ‘great news’ was on its way regarding Volpato in a discussion with SEN radio, although it is unclear when he will make his Socceroos debut.
The Aussies have two World Cup qualifiers looming in November, having spent the current international break in London for games against England and New Zealand.
Volpato can play on either flank as well as just behind the striker in the No 10 role.
Discussing the saga last November, Arnold said: ‘Cristian is a great kid,’ he said. ‘It’s an extremely difficult decision for the kid to make and he’s got people around him who have given him advice.
‘He wants to make this big decision when there are two countries he can play for in Australia and Italy.
‘He made that decision and he declined our opportunity to come and play for Australia at the World Cup. It doesn’t mean that he won’t do that in the future.’
Born in Sydney to Italian parents, Volpato holds dual citizenship and he has already represented the Azzurri at Under-20 level.
He was mentored by Jose Mourinho at Roma who was protective of his young player
Volpato moved to Sassuolo in the summer and is tipped to have a big future
With Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup, the Socceroos hoped to steal a march on the reigning European champions by selecting him in their squad for Qatar.
Players who are eligible to represent more than one country, can switch allegiances as long as they do so before being called up by a senior national team.
A burgeoning talent, the 19-year-old was released by Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, having grown up in the neighbouring suburb of Camperdown.
The A-League teams’ loss was Roma’s gain, as the Aussie earned a trial with Roma’s academy after being spotted by club’s scouts.
The Serie A giants tied him down to a three-year and Volpato made his senior debut last season under Jose Mourinho, before impressing last season. He now plays for Sassuolo.