Mancini: “We’re happy for all Italians.” Bonucci and Chiellini: “Now, we’re legends.”Tributes from Italy President Sergio Mattarella, Vezzali, Malagò and Matteo Berrettini. Donnarumma, the Player of the Tournament: “We were extraordinary”
Monday, July 12, 2021
From now on, when he hears the word ‘Wembley’, Roberto Mancini will only think about this magical night. That Koeman goal that put an end to Sampdoria’s dreams of winning the European Cup is a disappointment that is slowly fading away for the Head Coach, who enjoyed probably the best night of his career. For the second time in their history, Italy are European Champions, a feat that many didn’t expect following the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Mancini, however, always thought the Azzurri had a chance. After tonight’s penalty shootout success, he embraced Vialli and cried tears of joy: “Luck wasn’t on Sampdoria’s side that day, but a circle has been completed this evening. It was impossible to contemplate winning the Euros, but the lads were extraordinary. I don’t have the right words, this is a magnificent group. Due to how it played out, this was a very difficult match, but we dominated. It’s unfortunate for England. The team have come on leaps and bounds, and we’re happy for all Italians.
The first person to compliment the Head Coach was President Sergio Mattarella, who celebrated in the stands this evening and will receive the Azzurri at the Quirinale tomorrow: “I’d like to express my gratitude to Roberto Mancini and our players, who have represented Italy well and honoured the sport.” Tributes to the Azzurri also arrived from Prime Minister Mario Draghi, undersecretary for sport Valentina Vezzali (who was also in the stands) and CONI President Giovanni Malagò. Furthermore, on the invitation of the FIGC, Matteo Berrettini, who lost in the Wimbledon final, also joined in with the celebrations.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini lifted the trophy to the sky: “We deservedly won. Something magical was in the air and we deserve this triumph, as does the whole of Italy. I’d like to thank my teammates at home who have also been part of this group. Now, we’re going to enjoy it. We always tried to play football and wanted to take the game to our opponents. They only had one shot on target and we have written history. We’ve gone from Gigi (Buffon) to Gigio (Donnarumma).”
Chiellini and Bonucci didn’t stop hugging each other in front of the cameras. Given that they’ve experienced thousands of battles together and are now celebrating the most important trophy of their careers, this was inevitable. “It’s the best night of my career,” said the Azzurri defender, who scored his eighth Italy goal to cancel out Shaw’s opener. “What we’ve done is incredible. Chiellini and I came together to fight for this triumph. Our dedication is for the fans, who are now celebrating after a difficult year. Now, we’re legends.”
After saving Morata’s penalty in the semi-final, Gigio Donnarumma picked up the Player of the Tournament award after keeping out Sancho and Saka’s spot-kicks: “It’s been an incredible evening. If I’m the player of the tournament, it’s also thanks to Bonucci and Chiellini. We were extraordinary and are absolutely delighted. We never gave an inch, we’re a fantastic side and deserve all of this. Their early goal could have destroyed us, but this is not who we are. We never give up.”