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Conte casts doubt on Pirlo's Italy future

Antonio Conte has suggested Andrea Pirlo may be too old to represent Italy at Euro 2016.

The midfielder made just three appearances during his country's qualification campaign for the European Championships and has been left out of the latest Italy squad for friendlies against Belgium and Romania.

According to Conte, Pirlo's absence is due to a lack of game time in recent weeks, the veteran having played his most recent match with New York City on October 25.

However, the head coach acknowledged there is now some doubt about the former AC Milan star's ability to contribute to the national team. 

"The absence was expected, he had stopped playing for more than two weeks and there is the need for me to make assessments," Conte said.

"He is a player who I hold in high regard, but I must be cold in my analysis.

"We will see how he is, but he will be 37 years old. I have to start to look around and consider the possibility that I can't take him to the European Championships."

Conte also offered his opinion on the state of Serie A, claiming competition at the top of the table is welcome after four years of Juventus dominance.

"Fiorentina being top of the table is important for Italian football," he said.

"When you do things right, in every way, the results arrive. I congratulate Fiorentina and [coach Paulo] Sousa, although they seem less well-equipped than the usual big teams.

"Then there are Napoli and Roma who are doing well and Juventus and Milan, who are recovering.

"It's a league that's good for the supporters."