Italian international Riccardo Montolivo admits a miserable domestic campaign with AC Milan has left him fired up for this summer's FIFA World Cup™.
Milan could only finish eighth in the recently-completed Italian Serie A season as they missed out on European football for the first time in 16 years. That came as something as a shock with Milan winning the title just three years ago and not having finished outside the top three since 2008 and Montolivo, the Rossoneri captain, knows they need to do much better next season.
Before then though, there is the small matter of the World Cup and Montolivo is hoping he can play a big part for Italy in Brazil.
"I'm personally coming into the competition really charged up," Montolivo said to Gazzetta dello Sport. "There is so much will to bounce back from a negative season. No-one at Milan can be satisfied with the campaign we've had, neither individually or collectively. We need to learn from the mistakes we've made and try to be competitive next season. I just hope that I can do well with the national team."
The 29-year-old midfielder, who came up through the Azzurri youth ranks before making his debut with the senior team in 2007, has another reason to do well in South America. He wants to help Italy make amends for their dismal display in South Africa four years ago.
Our desire is to bounce back after what happened four years ago. The World Cup in South Africa proved to be a negative experience and we can't wait to put things right.
With Andrea Pirlo out injured, Montolivo started all three games for the Azzurri but could not help the defending champions avoid a shock early exit from the tournament.
"Our desire is to bounce back after what happened four years ago," he said. "The World Cup in South Africa proved to be a negative experience and we can't wait to put things right."
Montolivo, who has scored two goals in 57 appearances for his country, says there is no better place for the four-time world champions to do so than Brazil.
"I expect a magical World Cup," he said. "To have it in Brazil, the centre of football, makes me think it's going be really special. I hope I will make the final 23-man squad and that Italy can be a beautiful surprise in the tournament."
Italy, who were unbeaten in qualifying, begin their World Cup campaign against England on 14 June in Manaus. The Azzurri will also take on Costa Rica and Uruguay in Group D.