Francesco Totti looks increasingly likely to be fit for Italy’s World Cup campaign after coach Marcello Lippi offered him his first start in more than three months against Switzerland in a pre-World Cup friendly.

However, the news of Totti’s return is offset by the probable absence from Italy’s World Cup opener of Gianluca Zambrotta, who has picked up a muscle injury.

Totti has played once – a brief appearance in the second leg of the Italian Cup final – since fracturing a bone in his ankle on February 19.

“You will see an unusual three-man attack: a lead striker, Del Piero moved out to the left and Totti in the middle,” Lippi was quoted as saying on Gazzetta dello Sport’s website.

“He will play the whole of the first of the two friendlies this week (against Switzerland), and part of the match against Ukraine (in Lausanne on Friday).

“The important thing is that he comes through it well, even if there will be a bit of tiredness after a week of intense work. At least with a three-man attack, he’ll be a little less busy.”

Meanwhile, Juventus defender Zambrotta will miss his national team’s World Cup opener against Ghana on June 12.

If everything goes well, he will come back in 15 to 20 days,” Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci said. “In a week’s time, he will have another test done but we are calm and optimistic.