Italy manager Prandelli reveals longstanding Villa support
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is an Aston Villa supporter - and that's official.
The news was brought to us by Simone Farina, our head of sports integrity.
Farina met up with Prandelli on the eve of the Italy v Ireland friendly at Craven Cottage this past weekend.
It was there that Prandelli revealed his admiration and respect for the claret and blues - and his desire to head to a game next term.
Farina said: "Mr Prandelli told me that he has liked Aston Villa for many, many years.
"It is obviously due to the fact that in Italy, Aston Villa is renowned as a very famous club.
"Mr Prandelli also told me of his desire to come to Villa Park to see a game next season."
It wouldn't be the first time that Prandelli has been to Villa Park.
He was boss of Fiorentina in August 2009 when La Viola came over for a friendly game in B6.
Ironically, Martin O'Neill was his opposite number that day - just as he was on Saturday as Italy faced Ireland.
Emile Heskey scored the only goal of the game as Villa ran out 1-0 winners in front of a crowd of 22,915.
This term's player of the year Fabian Delph made a very impressive debut for Villa that balmy afternoon - and Prandelli made a point of praising the midfielder in his post-match interview.
He said: "I knew all about Ashley Young but I was not aware of this new boy Fabian Delph.
"I was very impressed with him. He has a good personality, he never loses the ball and he always has an alternative."
Prandelli isn't the only famous Italian to be revealed as a Villa fan.
Several weeks ago, Gianluca Pagliuca - one of his country's greatest-ever goalkeepers - told us of his love for the claret and blues, nurtured from the season when Villa won the League Championship.
As well as being out head of sports integrity, Farina, is also patron of Villa in the Community, integrity and fair play ambassador for Interpol and FIFA, adviser in grassroots football for the Italian Federation and he is also a member of the Serie B ethics committee.
He also took time to chat to the players on his visit to London - including former AS Roma team-mate Daniele De Rossi [pictured above].
Italy, of course, are in England's Group D in this summer's World Cup.
The two sides meet on Saturday June 14.
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