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banner Saturday, 3 November, 2001, 16:45 GMT
Manfredini turns down Ivory Coast
Manfredini in Serie A action against Torino
Manfredini in Serie A action against Torino
Chievo midfielder Christian Manfredini, left out of Italy's squad for Wednesday's friendly against Japan, has turned down a call-up from the Ivory Coast.

Manfredini was born in Port Bouet in the Ivory Coast but left the country when he was adopted by an Italian family at the age of five.

The left-sided midfielder had been widely tipped for a place in the Italian squad after coach Giovanni Trapattoni said he had been following Manfredini's progress closely.

Manfredini, who has been a key part of Chievo's rise to the top of Serie A in their first season in the top flight, said he was faxed an invitation to attend an Ivory Coast training camp by national coach Lama Bamba.

I don't remember any of my time in Africa and I feel 100 per cent Italian
Christian Manfredini
"I saw the fax from Lama Bamba and my reply was to say thanks for thinking of me, but I feel Italian," the daily Corriere dello Sport quoted Manfredini as saying.

"In theory as I have never played for Italy I could have accepted the offer but I don't think that would have been the right thing to do," he added.

100 per cent Italian

"I don't remember any of my time in Africa and I feel 100 per cent Italian."

Manfredini began his career at Juventus where he was part of the same youth side as Italy striker Alessandro Del Piero.

But he left the club aged 18, playing for several lower division clubs before helping Chievo win promotion to Serie A last season.

Ivorian officials were actually in touch with Manfredini two years ago when he was still playing for Serie B side Cosenza, but they never followed up their interest or arranged to get him an Ivorian passport.

Now he is high-profile as Chievo lead the standings after eight games, with Manfredini having contributed two fine goals.

Manfredini has already agreed a 5m move to reigning champions Roma at the end of the season.

See also:

11 Oct 01 |  Africa
Roma sign 5m Manfredini
29 Oct 01 |  Europe
Chievo march on
12 Oct 01 |  Africa
Ivorians drop Bakari pursuit
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