Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo has missed out on Italy's UEFA Euro 2008 squad after coach Roberto Donadoni unveiled his 23-man selection for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.
The 23-year-old Montolivo was included in Donadoni's provisional 24-man party, but has failed to make the final cut despite an impressive season with his club, who finished the Serie A season in fourth position.
Montolivo is now expected to feature in Italy's squad at this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
Italy coach Donadoni explained the reasons of his choice. "I made up my mind last night," he said. "I did not make any decision until yesterday.
"Riccardo had an impressive season that, to be honest, I did not expect from him. It was a hard decision and I took it only for numerical reasons.
"Montolivo behaved very well during the last days here and my choice did not depend on his condition.
"He will surely have a bright future in the national team, he can play just like he does with Fiorentina and take Andrea Pirlo's place. He should thank his coach, Cesare Prandelli, who helped him improve."
The World champions, who are training at their Coverciano headquarters, will play host to Belgium in their final warm-up match in Florence on Friday, although Montolivo has opted to leave the training camp this afternoon.
"Donadoni himself told me about my exclusion," said Montolivo. "I expected it, so I'm not disappointed."
Italy start their Group C campaign against the Netherlands in Berne on 9 June. Romania and France are also in the Azzurri's section.
Final Italy squad
Goalkeepers: Marco Amelia (Livorno), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Sevilla).
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Palermo), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Fabio Grosso (Olympique Lyonnais), Marco Materazzi (Inter), Christian Panucci (Roma), Gianluca Zambrotta (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Massimo Ambrosini (Milan), Alberto Aquilani (Roma), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Simone Perrotta (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (Milan).
Forwards: Marco Borriello (Genoa), Antonio Cassano (Sampdoria), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Fabio Quagliarella (Udinese), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich).