Uruguay and Fiorentina midfielder Matías Vecino spoke to FIFA last week and talked about why he turned down Italy amongst other topics. We summarized the key quotes.

  • On the possibility to represent Italy:

“I was surprised when the opportunity [to play for Italy] arose but it never caused me to think twice. They first got in touch when I was on loan at Empoli and then again in 2015, when I was back at Fiorentina. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable and it wouldn’t have been right. Representing a country is a major responsibility and if you don’t feel it, then it’s just not worth doing. I knew deep inside that if I did well, then the call would come from Uruguay.”

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  • On his Uruguay debut:

“I arrived in Montevideo the Tuesday before the Brazil game and on the Thursday, in the first training session in Recife, I was one of the first-teamers. I thought it was just El Maestro Tabarez (Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez) testing me out, but I played from the start. I didn’t feel nervous; just a little bit anxious in the tunnel. I couldn’t have wished for a better debut.”

  • On his admiration of fellow holding midfielders Sergio Busquets and Toni Kroos:

“I don’t know if I’m the same kind of player, but I watch them and learn. Neither of them is particularly strong but they win possession just by reading the game so well and being in the right place.”

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  • On the upcoming World Cup qualifiers:

“We’d have to beat Brazil and then get something in Peru. There are no guarantees at this stage of the qualifiers, though. The ideal thing for us at this stage would be to maintain the cushion we have over the teams just below us, at the very least.”