Prandelli puts faith in new captain Buffon

ROME - Cesare Prandelli took over the tattered reins of Italy on Thursday, putting his faith in goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as new captain and promising to stay upbeat despite a woeful World Cup.

The champions were dumped out in the group stage in South Africa after a shock 3-2 defeat by Slovakia, having failed to win a game at a World Cup for the first time.

"It's better to think positive. There are problems but I want to start with the right optimism," former Fiorentina boss Prandelli told a news conference after his presentation as Marcello Lippi's successor.

"Buffon is an example, I hope to give him the captain's armband at Euro 2012. People like him, so attached to the shirt, are the legacy of Lippi."

The keeper only played one half at the World Cup because of a serious back injury and will be out for three months, meaning Daniele De Rossi is likely to lead Italy in Prandelli's opening friendly in London on August 10 against Ivory Coast.

Previous captain Fabio Cannavaro and midfielder Gennaro Gattuso quit internationals after Italy's elimination in South Africa and Prandelli said he was unlikely to bring striker Francesco Totti out of his Azzurri retirement.

"I'm not thinking about him. I hope I don't have an emergency where I need to consider calling him up," said Prandelli, who was announced as the next coach before the World Cup and has penned a four-year deal.

The team lacked creative spark in South Africa without Totti and Italian media has clamoured for Sampdoria's recently-married and much-matured playmaker Antonio Cassano to be given a fresh chance alongside Inter Milan's teenage rebel striker Mario Balotelli.

"I don't know Balotelli. The advice I can give him is to calmly enjoy his profession. To me Cassano now seems very calm and mature. Women can give you the right sense of life," said Prandelli.

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