Fabio Capello isn’t the only international manager calling up a goalkeeper who can barely get a start for his club side for the next round of World Cup qualifiers. Diego Maradona has not only included Juan Pablo Carrizo in Argentina’s squad, but will make him his first choice stopper on Saturday at home to Venezeula. Carrizo’s having a torrid time at Lazio, and spoke about his frustration to reporters shortly after arriving in the country on Wednesday.
Carrizo last started for Lazio in a 4-1 defeat to Cagliari on the 25th January, and since then has seen his place taken by Fernando Muslera. Disquiet from the stands was first voiced about the goalkeeper when one of his (frequently successful) attempts to take the ball round an opposing forward went wrong and he cost his side a goal. Since then he’s been virtually frozen out, but he insists that the reasons he can’t get back into the starting lineup don’t seem to him to be footballing ones.
‘I’d like to fight [for my place], but it’s not a sporting matter,’ Juampi told the press on Wednesday. ‘I didn’t lose my place out on the pitch. If that was the case, I could look at my own performances, but if this is happening because someone doesn’t like my face or the way I walk, then I’ve got to get out.’
Carrizo pointed out that South American goalkeepers have always taken a while to bed in in Italy (though spoiled his argument slightly by calling Internazionale’s Brazilian ‘keeper Julio César ‘the best goalkeeper in the world’), before insisting that if he returned to Argentina it would only ever be to River Plate. First, though, he wants to see if there’s a European side who’ll take him. But, ‘if this carries on, I’m leaving in June.’ Diego’s number one knows he’s got to be playing regularly in the buildup to 2010.