Montolivo ready to upset Mum for Italian cause
Riccardo Montolivo will risk upsetting his German mother on Thursday by helping Italy beat Germany in their Euro 2012 semi-final.
Wednesday 27 June 2012, 01:40PM
The 27-year-old Italian midfielder, whose mother Antje met his father Marcello when they both studied in London, had an outstanding game in the quarter-final victory over England with the only blot missing his penalty in the shootout which Italy ended up winning 4-2.
"I thought the world was falling apart," admitted Montolivo.
However, his world was put back together quickly by his team-mates - especially the peerless playmaker Andrea Pirlo whose cheeky penalty rattled the English who missed their next two to all but hand victory to their opponents.
"I was waiting a long time for this moment, I am delighted to have played well but even more delighted that we qualified," he gasped with relief afterwards.
His performance in what was his first start of the tournament was also much appreciated by those around him.
"He (Montolivo) was one of the best performers," said coach Cesare Prandelli.
Montolivo, who also sports small German flags on his boots, and Prandelli know each other well from having played for the classy coach at Fiorentina from 2005-10 where he also was entrusted with the captaincy.
Montolivo is perhaps lucky that it was Prandelli who replaced Marcello Lippi after the 2010 World Cup catastrophe - where Lippi was unable to work the magic of 2006 with a squad largely made up of the World Cup winners and they became the first defending champions to exit in the first round.
Montolivo played in all three group games there but it didn't tarnish his reputation and Prandelli kept faith in him almost always pencilling him in as a starter in his two years in charge, though Thiago Motta looked to have displaced him here.
However, while Motta is a solid and reliable performer and started all three of the group games - as Prandelli flirted with a five man defence - the return of Montolivo and his more creative artistry added what many thought was a perfect balance to the Italian midfield for the England game.
For all his delightful play, though, there is one department where he has been lacking in his 35 appearances for the Azzurri and that is goals with just one to his credit.
However, Prandelli being a canny character may also want Montolivo on the pitch from the start for his knowledge of the German language.
German veteran Miroslav Klose, who speaks Italian as he plays for Lazio, has said he will if selected try and relay anything he can glean back to his team-mates and the same will be expected from Montolivo whether his mother approves or not!