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Baggio: World Cup dream lives on

Former Italy star Roberto Baggio is one of the players being monitored by coach Giovanni Trapattoni before he has to finalise his 22 players for the next World Cup finals.

Italy are expected to qualify with only a draw needed against Parma on Saturday against Hungary and coach Trapattoni has told Italian television that 34 year old veteran Baggio is in his thoughts.

The former Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina star scored twice and made the third goal in Brescia's controversial draw with Bergamo club Atalanta yesterday.

"We have been monitoring Baggio since the start of the year and we will continue to do so," said the coach speaking last night on RAI TV.

"Then we will decide. That he is playing well is not in doubt. He deserves our compliments. As for the World Cup we will decide when the time comes but not in advance. I can only say that Baggio is in the group of 30-35 players in my mind. We will see."

Baggio says he may retire next May from Brescia is he cannot reach his fourth World Cup finals.

He is currently the leading Serie A goal scorer still active in Italian football and had a sensational season last year after moving from Inter to Brescia. He remains in excellent form and the ruling out of injured Fiorentina striker Enrico Chiesa could narrow Baggio's competition for a place come next May.

Fiorentina have confirmed this morning that Chiesa will miss the rest of this season after tearing knee ligament s yesterday just minutes after giving Fiorentina the lead in a win over Vicenza.

Chiesa is having surgery today in Antwerp to try and repair the knee ligament damage suffered when he took an air shot.

Baggio starred again for Brescia yesterday but his veteran Roman coach Carlo Mazzone has caused a scandal after he ran 60 metres to the visiting Atalanta supporters and made gestures and shouted at them with his assistants following him and attempting to restrain him on chaotic scenes at the end of the game. Referee Pierluigi Collina sent Mazzone off and he faces a long touchline ban.

Mazzone claimed he took offence at chants made against his family in game against the Bergamo club played at Reggio Emilia last season and was angered by more abuse yesterday.

He went further in a later meeting with press reporters and appeared to suggest that everyone from Bergamo was the "son of a whore".

"When they called me a 'son of a whore' as I was returning to the dressing room I phoned my wonderful sisters and I asked if our parents were from Bergamo."

Source: World Soccer News.