Antonio Nocerino hopes Antonio Conte returns to coach Italy as the celebrated football nation attempts to pick up the pieces after their failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Football's showpiece international tournament will be staged without four-time champions Italy for the first time since 1958 following November's embarrassing play-off defeat to Sweden.
Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after the shock 1-0 play-off loss, with Italy Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio appointed on a caretaker basis for this month's international friendlies against Argentina and England.
Chelsea boss Conte, who oversaw Italy's run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, is on the shortlist to replace Ventura, while Zenit's Roberto Mancini and former Bayern Munich head coach Carlo Ancelotti have also been linked.
#Azzurri— Italy (@azzurri) March 20, 2018
Highlights from Coach #DiBiagio's first training session at #Coverciano yesterday, as the National Team prepare for their upcoming friendly against #Argentina in #Manchester. #VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/peZ59wF4iE
Reflecting on Italy's absence from the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, former international Nocerino told Omnisport: "It's a disaster. It's a disaster for the players because they are my friends. For Italy, the country and football, it's a disaster.
"The coach – Ventura – is the coach without international experience. He didn't have big experience in Europe or in the international game, important matches.
"The Champions League and Serie A is totally different. The Premier League and the Champions League is totally different. The Champions League is the same as international football. Every team are strong.
"You remember when Italy won the World Cup [in 2006]. The players, the coach [Marcello Lippi] with huge experience. A big career before coaching the national team."
"I hope for Italy, for the country, for football, Conte comes back," ex-AC Milan, Juventus and West Ham midfielder Nocerino, who played for Orlando City in MLS last season, continued.
"Or Mancini, he has great international experience. When he coached Inter, he won plenty. He has the attitude to coach at international level. Even Ancelotti.
"I hope it is one of those three coaches because they have plenty of experience. I hope Italy regain credibility again. Football in Italy is very important, like a religion.
"The World Cup without Italy is not a World Cup for me."
|Chandimal, Sri Lanka coach and manager banned for two Tests and four ODIs|
|Sassuolo demand at least €30m for Berardi|
|French media revels in ´crazy´ triumph|
|Mafi released on bail after alleged assault|
|Bierhoff must go! Berthold calls for Germany changes|
|Joshua to fight Povetkin in September|
|World Cup 2018: Goal-laden final adds to staggering World Cup stats|
|Runners and Ryders: Molinari impresses again as stars prepare for The Open|
|Macron to greet France team after Champs Elysees parade|
|Casillas and Suarez critical of VAR after World Cup final|
|TMO protocol clearly not working, says SANZAAR|
|Americans seek joy of six at Carnoustie, Rose out to end wretched run - The Open in Opta facts|
|Ronaldo arrives in Turin for Juventus medical|
|Stone: I had no idea what my score was!|
|The Open: A look back at Van de Velde´s Carnoustie calamity|
|Rakitic proud of ´brother´ Modric´s Golden Ball award|
|Serena can surpass Court, but Graf was the real target - Krajicek|
|Ronaldo moved to remain motivated - Kaka|
|Silva confident on Everton transfer targets|
|Golden Boot winner Kane aims to break August hoodoo|
|NFL training camp 2018: Contract holdouts and where they stand|
|Guardiola took me to another level - Alaba|
|Madrid selling Ronaldo a ´historic error´ - Calderon|
|MLS Review: LAFC, Atlanta held at home|
|Stones will watch re-runs of England´s World Cup matches|
|Ferdinand challenges Mourinho to unleash Pogba at United|
|Mbappe: I´m staying at PSG|
|Former NHL goalie Ray Emery found dead|
|Pirates secure five-game sweep of Brewers with walk-off win|
|WATCH: LeBron receives standing ovation at Lakers´ summer league game|
|Tony Romo wins celebrity-filled American Century Championship|
|McGregor praises Putin after attending World Cup final|
|Open-bound Kim claims maiden title with eight-shot triumph|
|Eagles running back Sproles plans to retire after next season|
|World Cup winner Rami retires from international football|
|Wimbledon champion Djokovic did not expect grand slam glory so soon|
|Ibrahimovic praises Pogba after World Cup final display|
|Wimbledon diary: Avengers too late for an Infinity War as Djokovic triumphs|
|Deschamp-agne – France´s 2018 vintage interrupt news conference to drench coach|
|I may have to dust my boots off! - Pele threatened by Mbappe exploits|
|WATCH: Mendy and Pogba dab with president Macron after World Cup win|
|Woods embracing ´different´ Carnoustie challenge ahead of Open return|
|Argentina dismiss Sampaoli after chaotic World Cup|
|France celebrates World Cup triumph|
|Djokovic made ´improvised Wimbledon trophies´ as a boy|
|Stone goes agonisingly close to 59 as Pepperell & Dantorp also make Open|
|Outcast Benzema delights in France win|
|Final a triumph in itself given Croatia´s off-field turmoil|
|Anderson laments Wimbledon final nerves|
|Deschamps joins elite club, Mbappe second to Pele - the best stats from the World Cup final|
|Belgium´s Courtois wins World Cup Golden Glove|
|Collarbone fracture confirmed for ´devastated´ Porte|
|World Cup final player ratings: Griezmann, Mbappe inspire France as Croatia fall short|
|World Cup winner Giroud ends tournament without shot on target|
|Modric wins World Cup Golden Ball|
|Mbappe wins World Cup Young Player award|
|Deschamps redeemed as France win World Cup final for the ages|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Twitter Report|
|Tomlin optimistic over Bell contract|
|Kane wins World Cup Golden Boot|
|Ajax keen on Blind deal - Van der Sar|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Pogba and Mbappe seal thrilling World Cup triumph|
|Anderson would have played another 21 hours to reach Wimbledon final|
|Djokovic delighted to crown ´comeback´ with Wimbledon glory|
|World Cup final interrupted by pitch invaders - Pussy Riot claim responsibility|
|Djokovic´s grass-court U-turn pays ultimate dividends with Wimbledon title|
|Mandzukic makes World Cup history with early own goal|
|Dominant Djokovic beats Anderson to regain Wimbledon title|
|Everybody said I´m done - Degenkolb revels in first Tour victory|
|´Big party´ for Marquez after Sachsenring success|