Lippi's lips sealed over Totti return

ROME - Impatient Italy fans must bide their time to find out if Francesco Totti will make a remarkable comeback at the World Cup, coach Marcello Lippi said on Tuesday, predicting a similar wait for news over his own future.

The Roma captain and striker, 33, retired from international football after Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph but has recently left the door open to a return if he is fully fit.

"Totti? Wait until May 11, when we need to send the list of 30 players to FIFA. You will see," Lippi told a news conference during a two-day Italy training camp in Rome.

"I don't have plans to visit Roma but there is also the telephone. Or even email," he smiled.

The provisional 30-man squad will be whittled down to 23 for the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa, where the holders meet Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F.

Totti has suffered a string of injury problems in the last year but is back fit for Roma's Serie A title run-in and has scored 12 league goals this term.

His return would give Italy much-needed creativy following recent lacklustre results but walking back into side having not contributed to qualification could rankle with players who then miss out on a starting berth or a squad place.

Totti, along with Roma team mates Daniele De Rossi and Luca Toni, were excluded from the 29-man training squad because their side face Inter Milan in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday.

Villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi is also missing because of club action in Spain but Lippi said the 23-year-old "remains in my notebook".

Speculation is rife that Lippi will step down after the World Cup but the coach has steadfastly refused to outline his plans, saying Italian federation president Giancarlo Abete should announce the news before the tournament gets under way.

"Abete knows what I will do. He will reveal it," Lippi said.

Follow on Twitter
Join on Facebook