Del Piero axe fear
By Nadia Carminati
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Juventus talisman Alessandro Del Piero is battling for his place in the Italy squad.Juventus talisman Alessandro Del Piero is battling for his place in the Italy squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Reports in Italy suggest Del Piero's recent below-par form could prompt Marcello Lippi to axe him from his plans for the games against Slovenia and Belarus.
Del Piero was only on the substitutes' bench for Juventus' UEFA Champions League win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Tuesday evening.
The Old Lady insist Del Piero is nursing a tendon injury and that is the factor behind his current dip in standards.
But the Italian media believe Del Piero's malaise in form, not fitness, will lead to his omission from the squad Lippi is due to announce on Sunday.
Speculation suggests Del Piero needs to force his way back in to the Juve side for this weekend's Serie A tussle against Udinese.
Only a positive performance will cement his place in former Juve chief Lippi's squad for next month's World Cup double-header.
Del Piero's plight mirrors that of ex-Juve colleague Christian Vieri, who has endured a lacklustre start to the season with Internazionale.