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‘Ligue 1 holding Verratti back’

Italy CT Giampiero Ventura warns playing in Ligue 1 is holding Marco Verratti back - ‘Paris Saint-Germain are so good he’s never in difficulty’.

The midfielder is a key part of the Azzurri squad, and has been one of PSG’s star men since moving to Parc des Princes from Pescara in 2012.

“I’ve said it and I’ll repeat it: Verratti is absolutely a good thing for Italy,” Ventura told Sky.

“The problem is that he doesn’t play in Italy but in France. The rhythms are different, the strength of his team is so high that he never gets put in difficulty.

“He must get used to pulling out 100 per cent.”

The Juventus defence of Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chellini were the bedrock of the Azzurri at Euro 2016, will it be the same at the World Cup.

“I just hope that Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini and Buffon are all healthy. The problem is having players fit and available.

“Buffon’s objective is to play in the next World Cup, for a number of reasons. You know it and see it by how he trains, not to survive but to improve even more.

“Gigio Donnarumma? The talk around Donnarumma is the same as when Buffon started. They’re players who, without wanting to increase the pressure, are pre-destined for greatness thanks to their technical, physical and mental quality.

“With Donnarumma it’s not his saves, but the calm he transmits when he plays.”