Volpato, 18, became the target of online trolls after mistakenly sharing a private tongue-in-cheek Snapchat post which appeared to mock the Socceroos.


  • On-line hate merchants have pushed Roma starlet Cristian Volpato away from one day representing Australia - the country of his birth.
  • Volpato has been disappointed by the vitriolic reaction of trolls after he mistakenly shared a light-hearted Snapchat post which appeared to mock the Socceroos.
  • The teenage winger last week made his debut for Italy's U-20s but can still switch back to Australia in the future.

More Socceroos news can be found on FTBL. 

The post pictured the result of Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Japan (a 2-0 home loss) accompanied by a laughing emoji.

According to Basha - who coached Volpato at his Sydney academy for four years - he was simply replying to a pal who suggested he should have been selected by the Socceroos for the Blue Samurai clash in Sydney.

Volpato - who has made two Serie A appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side this season  - ironically made his debut for Italy’s U-20s last week.

He was shocked, Basha says, by the extent of the vitriol hurled at him by a cyber hate brigade in his home country.

“The whole thing was a load of crock,” Basha told FTBL. “Cristian was having a laugh with his mate on Snapchat and replied with the picture and laughing emoji after his friend said he should have been picked for the Japan game.

“He made a mistake by accidentally making it visible to everyone and then some idiots jumped all over it.

“He wasn’t mocking Australia - he loves and respects the country.  I called Cristian as soon as I saw it and he explained what had happened. 

“It’s ridiculous that now there are trolls out there trying to tarnish his name. You’ve got to remember he’s still just a kid and doesn’t have that maturity yet.

"He’s still a baby and won’t be perfect in every move he makes.”

Optus Sports pundits Michael Bridges and Thomas Sorensen - both ex-pros - even jumped on board, suggesting Volpato’s blooper risked “burning bridges” and could "come back to bite him” later in his career.

Basha, who was behind Volpato landing a successful trial at Roma, claimed the episode might turn him off ever pulling on the green and gold.

“He’s been upset and disappointed by what so-called football fans have been saying about him (on social platforms),” he added.

“Do you think he’d want to play for Australia after that? I wouldn’t.

“He’s had trolls messaging him on Instagram and bagging him. Why would he want to play for those fools. They're driving him away.

“He’s disappointed by the reaction and the behaviour of these people. There are a lot of computer warriors out there.

“It was pretty disgusting the way Optus jumped all over it also. There’s a stigma now about him ever wanting to represent Australia.”

Chief of the Australasian Soccer Academy, Basha believes if Volpato continues on his current trajectory he will ultimately appear for Italy’s senior team.

“As much as he loves Australia, there’s a huge amount to be said for playing for Italy," he stressed.

“You have the European Championships in addition to World Cups and it’s a tricky one. Cristian is happy to have had a chance to represent Italy. In a football sense you can’t be one-eyed.

“He lives in Italy and has settled in and loves the place. His grandparents are full on Italian. He grew up in an Italian household in Sydney.

“In all honesty it wouldn’t be a terribly tough decision to turn his back on Australia because basically he’s an Italian boy now.

“He’s in the system - he started in the 5-0 win over Norway last week (and scored) and also in the 1-1 draw with Germany.

"He's been getting positive write-ups in the Italian press. There was one the other day saying when he’s not in Roma’s Primavera team they’re a worse team without him.

“He’s making waves and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play for Italy’s senior team at some stage if he keeps going the way he is.

“It’s a hard one because he’s rated very highly in Italy - one of the best prospects in the Primavera.

“If I found myself in Italy’s U-20s my aim and focus would be to push on and one day make the senior squad.

“I think that’ll be Cristian’s aim, as well as also the people around him like his agent (Italy and Roma great Francesco Totti).”

Another factor in Volpato’s decision making process might rest on the conflicting football cultures of Australia and Italy, contends Basha.

“I was at the Japan game, and we had only 41,000 at Stadium Australia and there was absolutely no atmosphere there, no chanting and no obvious backing for the team,” he chided.

“It was like a home game for Japan. That vocal support is something we’re missing here and something you have in spades in Europe.

“For such an important game it was so disappointing - no singing, no noise. Some off these people are the ones who troll players. We need to be supportive of our national teams.”


It's Dutch and go for Glory rookie as Europe beckons

Perth Glory starlet Joshua Rawlins - one of the A-League Men’s most gifted young prospects - is on the cusp of joining an unnamed Dutch club for next season.


Ange On the Brink of Celtic Destiny

After beating Rangers again on the weekend, Ange Postecoglou is within touching distance of a first season Scottish treble. If you follow the Gers, look away now...

More Socceroos news can be found on their website.