Injury-free Nesta nears Italy comeback

MILAN - Alessandro Nesta is considering coming out of international retirement to play for Italy at the World Cup, coach Marcello Lippi said on Tuesday.

The AC Milan centre-back, whose side can cut Inter Milan's Serie A lead to four points with a win over Fiorentina in Wednesday's game in hand, quit internationals in 2007 because of injuries.

The 33-year-old was out for a year with a back problem but had been in top form this season before being slightly exposed in last week's 3-2 Champions League defeat by Manchester United.

"He is in credit with the national team because he was injured at two World Cups. It would be great," Lippi told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I've talked with him and during the week we'll talk again. We'll see."

Nesta had always ruled out returning for the world champions but has softened his stance after striker Francesco Totti indicated he would be willing to end his international exile if injuries cleared up.

Lippi, who again would not say whether he would continue as coach after the World Cup in South Africa, names his squad on Sunday for a friendly against Cameroon on March 3.

Roma's Totti is unfit but Nesta could be included as Lippi eyes experience.