Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini believes the desire to replicate the style of play associated with Pep Guardiola has had a detrimental effect on defenders in Italy.
The centre-back, 33, explained why he feels his compatriots need to get back to basics and work on producing more great defenders for the country to be proud of.
“Pep Guardiola spoiled and ruined the Italian defender,” Chiellini told the Daily Mail.
“He is a fantastic coach with a fantastic mind but Italian trainers have tried to copy him without the same knowledge and then in the last 10 years, we lost our identity.
“We lost our identity of [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Fabio] Cannavaro, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Giuseppe] Bergomi, [Claudio] Gentile, [Gaetano] Scirea... between 1984 and 1995, we have only [Leonardo] Bonucci.
“In 10 years, we didn't launch one good defender. I hope now we restart and relaunch Italian football . The World Cup result is the proof of our problem.”
Asked if he intends to watch any of the upcoming tournament, Chiellini was understandably non-committal considering this will be the first time since 1958 a World Cup has not featured Italy.
“Honestly, it will be like a dagger in my stomach. It will not be a good month. I will see bits and check the scores but I can't imagine sitting at the TV to watch the World Cup at home,” he said.