Kobe Bryant is currently in South Africa, taking in the FIFA World Cup (as Steve Nash is). Whilst going about his business of relaxing, he still tends to attract attention (surprise, surprise) and thus was interviewed regarding his thoughts on football and the like.

Italian-language site, il Messaggero has Kobe predicting that Spain or Brazil is the favourite to take out the Cup, whilst he would have said Germany a month ago (he may still think that after their thumping of England last night).

More interestingly though, he said that he would consider finishing out his career in Italy. Sure, it might be just a case of the smooth-talking Bryant telling reporters what they want to hear, but he does speak Italian with an amazing level of fluency given how long he has been away from the country and as he points out, has a number of friends in Reggio Emilia and Milan.

His current deal with the Lakers runs through 2014, at which point he would no doubt be reaching the latter stages of his effectiveness after a professional career that started earlier than most. Going back to the place where he grew up in some of younger years, watching his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant play, may be a nice little pre-retirement plan to eek out some final euros and do it all in a new environment (one which would no doubt be an interesting experience for his children in much the same way as he was treated).

Kobe a Italia? We will wait and see.