One of Italy’s most-capped players won’t be heading to Australia with the Azzurre this summer.
Italy manager Milena Bertolini released her preliminary 32-player roster ahead of a pair of friendlies in preparation for next month’s Women’s World Cup and there was one very noticeable omission: Sara Gama. The only captain Juventus Women has ever known and the Azzurre’s skipper for the better part of the past decade will not be leading Italy out of the tunnel when they begin group stage action against Argentina on July 23.
In a post on Instagram on Saturday, Gama said she learned of Bertolini’s decision three days ago and that she has accepted the decision “despite the bitterness of these difficult hours for the ways and times in which this decision was communicated to me.”
Below is the complete 32-player roster that will be be cut down to 23 in a matter of days.
Gama, who turned 34 years old back in March, has dealt with injuries and as a result inconsistent playing time over the last couple of seasons with Juve. She appeared in just 15 league matches this past season, making 13 starts and playing 1,134 minutes. That was down slightly from the 1,166 minutes she played against Serie A Femminile opposition last season.
Since Gama was a starter in Juve’s Coppa Italia final win over Roma — at right back, no less — and preparing to be a part of the squad up until recently, it doesn’t appear like this is a health-related decision. It seems as though it’s clear a technical decision made by Bertolini, who could very well be coaching her final major tournament with Italy as well.
Gama isn’t the only big name from Juventus to be missing the tournament, with midfielder Martina Rosucci out injured after undergoing knee surgery (again) back in mid-March.
With Gama not called up for the Women’s World Cup, Roma fullback Elisa Bartoli is the likely leader in the clubhouse for who wears the captain’s armband against Argentina (and for the entirety of the tournament).