Antonio Conte is a menace and must be stopped.
The future Chelsea manager is already embracing his new role as villainous manager of a hated club with his current job as Italy manager. On Monday, the Italian made it official that Major League Soccer stars, Sebastian Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo, will not be heading to EURO 2016 with Italy by leaving them off his 30-man provisional roster.
As national team manager, it's his right to call in whoever he chooses and for what ever reasons. If the story had ended there the news would've died a quick death with minor speculation about the two players being snubbed because they play in MLS and not in Europe anymore.
Instead, Conte decided to pour gasoline on the miniature fire by declaring that in fact he did leave both players off because of the league they play in.
"We evaluated [Pirlo] and Giovinco, it's normal that if you choose to go and play MLS then you can pay the consequences in footballing terms,"
"We evaluated them technically, we didn't leave anything to chance. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong, we went everywhere to have clear and precise ideas."
-Antonio Conte; Source: Gazetta dello Sporto
Giovinco has 23 caps for Italy and set the record in MLS for combined assists and goals last season. He's shown no signs of slowing down this season and yet was omitted from a rather pedestrian Italy roster for EURO 2016.
His exclusion is mind-boggling compared to that of Pirlo's who is getting older. His 116 caps are amazing, but he's 37 years old now and has struggled to get acquainted to the MLS style and pace of play. Pirlo is a legend of the game, but it's completely understandable for Conte to want to move on from him.
It's no secret that MLS is viewed as inferior in Europe. This brutally honest admission just proves that for as far MLS has come as a league in 20 years, they have much further to go to become relevant on the world stage. It's almost certain that there are many more important soccer figures all over the world who feels the same as Conte does. It's a stigma that has come along with American soccer for decades.
It will take many more years for the negative perception of anything MLS or American soccer-related to wear off. Unfortunately, Giovinco is the victim of this bias and there's nothing anyone can do about it except be mad and frustrated.