Bari's Polenta: I said no to chance of becoming Italy 'Oriundo'

Young Bari defender Diego Polenta has revealed that he was contacted by representatives of the Italian national team in an effort to persuade him to switch allegiance, but that he had no intention of abandoning his native Uruguay.

The 20-year-old centre-back is currently on loan at Bari from Genoa, for whom he signed as a teenager after playing for Montevideo side Danubio at youth level. Strong, quick and with excellent technique on the ball, the youngster has already received favourable comparisons with Celeste legend Paolo Montero.

Polenta holds an Italian passport, and despite representing Uruguay at Under-15, U17 and U20 levels would still be eligible to represent the country of his ancestors rather than the South Americans. According to the player, however, he has no intention of becoming an oriundo.

"I told [Italy] not for now, but knowing myself well I don't think that I would ever play for another team that wasn't Uruguay," the defender told Ovacion on Wednesday afternoon.

"I think it would be hard for me to do that. I have no reason to and, even if I do not get called up by the Seleccion, every time they do well I am going to be happy. I was also called up to the squad by the maestro [coach Oscar Tabarez] for two senior friendlies.

"So for the time being I still have a great chance, and I will keep fighting."

The last Uruguayan to represent Italy was the legendary Alcides Ghiggia, who lifted the 1950 World Cup with the Celeste before playing for the Europeans on five occasions between 1957 and 1959.

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