HomeFootballThe $3000-a-head dinner that could change everything for Socceroos

The $3000-a-head dinner that could change everything for Socceroos


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But if he is holding out for the chance to represent the Azzurri at senior level, his window of opportunity may be closing, and he could soon arrive at a point where it may even benefit his career to start playing for the Socceroos.

Volpato moved to Serie A rivals Sassuolo for €7.5 million at the end of last season chasing regular first-team football, making him the third-most expensive Australian player in history. Though he has shown positive signs this term, he has only one goal from 19 Serie A appearances and zero assists, and Sassuolo are on course for relegation to Serie B, which would severely dent his already faint prospects of being picked to play for Italy in the short to medium term.

Cristian Volpato is playing youth international football for Italy – but will he ever make it to their senior team?Credit: Getty

The Socceroos, meanwhile, have the perfect opportunity to cap-tie him and any other dual international players in the upcoming June window, when Australia will face Bangladesh and Palestine in dead-rubber World Cup qualifiers. Their spot in the next round of qualification, which begins in September, was locked in with two wins over Lebanon last month, and Arnold has said he will try to balance his ability to experiment with the need to bank as many FIFA ranking points as possible to ensure a smoother road to the 2026 World Cup in future group-stage draws.

Arnold declined to comment on Volpato, while Totti was unavailable for comment, handlers of his forthcoming dinner in Sydney told this masthead.


Arnold was an assistant coach to Guus Hiddink when Totti came off the bench late in Australia’s World Cup round of 16 clash with Italy in Kaiserslautern and converted the injury-time penalty given away by Lucas Neill for a foul on Fabio Grosso.

In his book, Gladiator, Totti recounted his surprise that no Australian players tried to taunt or distract him before taking his spot kick, attributing it to the country’s “Anglo-Saxon sporting culture.”

“The Australians were excellent athletes, but not even Hiddink had been able to give them a decent tactical order: they were running almost on empty, not succeeding in taking advantage of the extra man, and despite their numerical superiority they hadn’t yet made a change, a sign that there was very little on the bench,” Totti wrote.

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