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Trapattoni: I have not had a stroke

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has dismissed speculation he has suffered a stroke.

The 71-year-old instead said he is recovering at home after undergoing scheduled surgery on his carotid artery in Milan on December 28, and intends to travel to Dublin as planned later this month to announce his squad for the Carling Nations Cup clash with Wales.

Trapattoni said: "I had a scheduled operation to clean the carotid artery on December 28 in Milan.

"I am recovering well and expect to return to work in the coming weeks.

"Contrary to media speculation, I can confirm that I have not suffered a stroke.

"I will be in Ireland on January 24 to announce my squad for the Carling Nations Cup match against Wales on February 8."

Trapattoni spent several days in Dublin's Mater Hospital in August last year after being admitted suffering from abdominal pains as a result of minor scar tissue from a previous procedure.

That meant the Italian had to watch his side's 1-0 friendly defeat by Argentina in their first game at the newly-refurbished Aviva Stadium from his hospital bed.

However, the former Italy manager, who celebrates his 72nd birthday in March, was back in harness for the Euro 2012 qualifier victories over Armenia and Andorra early the following month.

Ireland currently lie in second place in Group B, level on seven points with both Armenia and Slovakia and two behind leaders Russia, who won 3-2 in Dublin on October 8.

They resume their qualifying campaign against Macedonia in March, and travel to the former Yugoslavian republic in June.

Under Trapattoni, the Republic came agonisingly close to reaching last summer's World Cup finals in South Africa, only to miss out in controversial circumstances after their infamous play-off defeat by France.

PA Media