Totti open to Italy return

ROME - AS Roma striker Francesco Totti has said he will come out of international retirement and play for Italy at the World Cup if he is fit and called up.

The 33-year-old quit the Azzurri after their 2006 World Cup triumph but has finally announced he would be willing to return to the fold having only hinted at the prospect in recent months.

"I will decide in April. If Marcello Lippi calls me up, if I am fit and if the group wants me, I will go," Totti told Italian newspaper La Repubblicca on Saturday.

Coach Lippi has long hailed Totti but has never said he will be guaranteed a place back in the squad.

Constant injury problems over recent seasons could re-emerge while some players could resent his inclusion given he did not assist the Azzurri in qualification for June's tournament in South Africa.

Totti has broken a string of scoring records having spent his entire career at Roma, who are joint fourth in Serie A thanks to his nine goals this term.

Luca Toni, a new team-mate of Totti having signed on loan from Bayern Munich, is also a candidate for a return to the Italy squad but first wants to concentrate on Roma.

"I haven't come to Roma solely for the World Cup. Now my aim to score lots of goals and play well. Then we'll see what happens in June," Toni, whose Italy hopes could be complicated if Totti returns, told a news conference.