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Antonioli gives up World Cup dream

© Reuters 2002

ROME, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Roma goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli believes he has no chance of being included in Giovanni Trapattoni's World Cup plans.

Antonioli's future at Roma looked in doubt last summer, when the club spent millions on Atalanta prodigy Ivan Pelizzoli, but has proved to be one of the best goalkeepers in Italy in his third season at the club. He let in just eight goals in Serie A in 16 games.

Despite this impressive form, he accepts that his chances of going to Japan and South Korea are small. "(Gianluigi) Buffon and (Francesco) Toldo are already on the plane going to Japan and the third goalkeepers' spot will probably go to a youngster such as (Christian) Abbiati," said Antonioli, quoted in Thursday's Corriere Dello Sport.

"I'm not going to delude myself. I just have to think about Roma." Antonioli, who was in the Italy Euro 2000 squad but has never earned an international cap, refuses to rule out the possibility of leaving Roma this summer.

With Pelizzoli seen as his long-term successor, Antonioli, who is out of contract at the end of the season, added: "I could go abroad if an offer comes in that appeals to all concerned. I'll add only that the club knows very well what I think and I will wait and see and value what they offer and then I will decide my future.

"I have remained at Roma partly because of the coach and partly because I was not sold. I am the same person and I just want to play well." Roma currently lead Serie A by one point and face Fiorentina on Sunday.

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