“The Italian national side is my dream and I’m not hiding from it,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “If the call came then I wouldn’t think it over for more than a second – I would instantly say yes.
“I have Italian blood, I feel Italian, and I simply ask to be considered in the race for a place in the squad.”
The central midfielder has worn the yellow jersey of Brazil in his career before now, but he insists that is part of the past.
“I have played for Brazil from Under-17 to Under-23 level, but they didn’t think I could be part of the Selecao,” he added. “Today I would choose Italy. I had a passport even before I came here.
“But I’m not asking for any presents from anyone. I naturally want to earn a place in the national side through what I do on the field of play.”