Pirlo changes stance on retirement


As a dejected Italy team returned from a disappointing World Cup, there was one piece of good news with midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo saying he is considering reversing his decision to retire from international football.

The 35-year-old Pirlo, who plays for Juventus, said before the World Cup that he would quit international football after the tournament in Brazil.

However Pirlo said on Thursday that "if the new national coach thinks he needs me, I will happily remain available."

Pirlo has scored 13 goals in 112 appearances for Italy, since making his debut in 2002 and helped Italy to its World Cup victory in 2006.

Italy lost against Costa Rica and Uruguay in Brazil, after winning their opening game 2-1 against England.

Coach Cesare Prandelli resigned immediately after the Uruguay defeat.

The majority of players as well as Prandelli and other staff disembarked from their charter flights at Milan's Malpensa airport and the plane continued on to Rome.

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon was the only player to speak but the Juventus goalkeeper refused to comment on Mario Balotelli, who has come in for a lot of criticism, adding "I'll talk only about football. We made a bad impression."

AC Milan striker Balotelli got off the plane sporting a newly-blonde crest in his hair.

First off the airplane in Rome was the former president of the Italian football federation, Giancarlo Abete, who joined Prandelli in resigning immediately after the Uruguay defeat.

Roma star Daniele De Rossi was the last to disembark and he and Lazio midfielder Antonio Candreva were the only two applauded by approximately 20 airport workers waiting at the bottom of the steps.