Jose Mourinho has told his Aussie Serie A, AS Roma starlet Cristian Volpato that he needs to follow his heart in choosing between the Socceroos and Italy.
Jose Mourinho has weighed into the debate over the international future of AS Roma debutant Cristian Volpato, telling the young attacker he has must "follow his heart” in deciding whether to opt for Australia or Italy.
Australia are redoubling efforts to tie down the Sydney-raised 18-year-old after he came off the bench for a brief Serie A cameo in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico.
But uncapped Volpato, who has attended a number of junior Italian camps and was invited to an Olyroos Asian Cup preparation camp in Dubai in October, is still weighing his options as his international allegiance goes on the line.
FA’s interim technical director Trevor Morgan texted Volpato a congratulatory message overnight and is keen to tie him down to the Olyroos, whilst Graham Arnold could conceivably make a pre-emptive strike by capping him for the Socceroos in the January-February World Cup window.
The young gun’s father and advisor, Oscar Volpato, revealed how La Magica boss Mourinho had offered his own sage advice to the young gun who counts Roma great Francesco Totti as his agent.
“Jose Mourinho said to him: ‘You have a big decision now - who are you going to play for, Australia or Italy?’," Volpato senior told FTBL.
“He didn’t tell Cristian what to do - all he said was “you have to play where your heart tells you”.
“He did add though that were Cristian to go with Australia he would have to travel to the other side of the world and that takes a lot out of you.”
“Trevor Morgan sent Cristian a message of congratulations on his debut and wants to speak him (about representing Australia).
“There’s also been talk about him being called up for Italy’s U-19s.
“The main thing now is he has a Primavera match against Sampdoria to think about (Monday morning AEDT).”
Volpato isn’t committing to either - taking a Que Sera, Sera approach - with Oscar adding: “He’s open to whatever happens - he lives and plays in Italy now and that’s a factor of course. But he’s mainly concentrated now on building a future in Serie A.
“Even Totti told him not worry too much about the international stuff and just concentrate fully on Serie A."
Dual nationality Volpato can represent either nation at youth level but will tied to life to whom ever of the two he represents in a FIFA tournament at senior level.
“He trains first grade every day with Roma - last week he was the only one from Primavera with the first team. He’s always with them, always," added Volpato senior.
Volpato was in the squad to face Calgiari in October and was pencilled in to travel with the senior squad to Bologna in midweek but was reluctantly repatriated to the second team after its coach pleaded with Mourinho to release him for the crucial Coppa Italia round of 16 clash against Cosenza.
Roma won 2-0 with Volpato telling father Oscar it was the “best match” he’s played yet in his evolving career.
“I was dribbling past four or five players and even the referee came up to me and said ‘you’re too good for this game, you’re a level above everyone’ was the message excitedly relayed to his dad after a virtuoso show from the youngster deemed not good enough by both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers as he vied for an A-League breakthrough before heading to Europe.
After four goals in 10 Primavera appearances this season, striding out at a packed Stadio Olimpico left Volpato agog.
“He was in heaven playing in that atmosphere - it’s something he’s never experienced,” said Oscar.
“Now he’s hungry for more. Totti went there especially to watch him play. He hadn’t been to the stadium for two years since he left.”