Rome

Soccer: Buffon defends dropped De Rossi

'Sometimes hard to follow' Roma coach Zeman, says Italy keeper

Soccer: Buffon defends dropped De Rossi

(ANSA) - Rome, October 9 - Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon stuck up for his Azzurri teammate Daniele De Rossi on Tuesday after the midfielder was dropped by AS Roma coach Zdenek Zeman last weekend. Zeman left De Rossi on the bench for Sunday's 2-0 win over Atalanta, along with Italy forward Pablo Osvaldo, citing "motivation" reasons. The media has interpreted this as being his way of saying they are not trying hard enough. The case has caused a big stir in Italian football as De Rossi has a reputation for being a fine professional and he is a leading player for both club and country. "Sometimes it is hard to follow him," Buffon told reporters referring to the outspoken Zeman. "De Rossi's exclusion on Sunday surprised me, as it did everyone. "I have known Daniele for a long time, I know his value and the contribution he makes (for Italy) regardless of any problems with his club," the Juventus captain added at Italy's training camp ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Armenia and Denmark. "The affair regards the relationship between Zeman and Daniele, which is a minefield. But I can say that De Rossi has always seemed enthusiastic about playing with the national team to me. "He has lots of experience and has overcome many difficulties in the past, so I think nothing and no one can upset him or knock him off balance". Buffon and De Rossi were both part of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning team.

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