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Notte Magica for Italy at the Euros, and also for Fiorentina fans

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Italy are European Champions, with a little help from our Fiorentina friends

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Un Estate Italiana (An Italian Summer)

The European Championships have come to an end, which means it will now be time to focus on the world of Fiorentina. The new manager, transfer market, departures, new arrivals, preseason, there’s a lot to look forward, we hope. But Italy’s win, taking home the trophy from London, surely deserves one more mention.

I’ll admit, I’ve been almost completely distracted from all things Viola in recent weeks. The feast of football on offer at the Euro Finals has been impossible to get away from. Knowing from the start that Italy had a good chance of winning this, and then seeing those chances grow and grow, has been a story which completely absorbed all of my attention.

It’s been a remarkable tournament from start to finish, enthralling, entertaining and exhausting too. A penalty shoot-out can really take it out of you, when the team you want to win is involved. The fact that Italy were involved in two, and in the biggest games, the semi-final and final, was almost unbearable.

Last night especially, when Italy were the first to miss and then with the last Italian penalty and Jorginho has the chance to win it but his penalty gets saved, it seemed like the dream was about to turn into a nightmare.

At Wimbledon that afternoon, another Italian was involved in a final, Fiorentina fan Matteo Berrettini. He managed to make it to Wembley for the second half of the game, reports that he had missed the Uber he was supposed to share with Tom Cruise and members of the Royal Family have not yet been confirmed.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is of course the hero, saving the last two England penalties, but we shouldn’t forget who put away the fourth and decisive penalty for Italy. The same guy who also stepped up in the shoot-out against Spain, Federico Bernardeschi.

Ma voglio viverla così quest’avventura

Senza frontiere e con il cuore in gola

(But I want to experience this adventure like this

Without borders and with your heart in your mouth)

Bernardeschi is a player who is constantly derided, and not just by Fiorentina fans, but also on a wider scale, as his move to Juventus has never really taken off. I hate to imagine what sort of criticism he would have come in for had he missed his penalty and Italy lost, so it goes to show the strength he has to take on that responsibility.

Quel sogno che comincia da bambino

E che ti porta sempre più lontano

(That dream that begins as a child

And that takes you further and further)

Any player who leaves Florence to sign for our rivals is never going to win any popularity contests with Viola fans. Those like Bernardeschi and Federico Chiesa who actually come up through the youth teams, who have been with the club from a very young age, will be criticized even more.

When they do return to play at the Stadio Franchi wearing the bianconeri jersey, they know as well as anyone how much abuse they are going to get from the crowd. But, maybe we can take a little joy and pride out of the fact that Chiesa, who the world has admired over the last month, learned all he knows at Fiorentina, a club he joined at the age of ten. Bernardeschi who stepped up twice when it really counted, was at Fiorentina from the age of nine.

E negli occhi tuoi voglia di vincere

Un’estate, un’avventura in più

(And in your eyes the desire to win

One summer, one more adventure)

Giorgio Chiellini may be a player Fiorentina fans love to hate, but I’ve already done a piece on his season at our club, where his Serie A and international career all began. The world of football has fallen in love with Chiellini over the course of this competition, both for his on the field performances and his love for and commitment to defending at all costs, and also for his personality, and how relaxed he seemed under pressure. Another piece of the Italian victory that we can take some credit for.

When the squad went to the Quirinale in Rome today to meet the Italian President, in his speech, Giorgio Chiellini dedicated their victory not only to the millions of Italian fans around the world, but also to Davide Astori. An emotional captain said that they would have wanted to have Davide here with them today, and that he is always present in their thoughts, in the hearts of those who knew him and also of the young people who have heard him spoken about.

Roberto Mancini, has amazed football fans everywhere with how he has turned around this Italian squad, and with the style of football he has his team playing. It’s hard to remember any other Italian team getting so much praise for their flair and style and attacking football at any other major tournament. Of course, Mancini’s managerial career started here at Fiorentina. Not a great time for a manager to take charge of a club in serious decline, especially off the field. He certainly didn’t endear himself to a lot of Fiorentina fans with his constant defense of Vittorio Cecchi Gori. It didn’t end well, for Mancini or Fiorentina, but since then he has more than proved himself as a manager, at every club he has taken charge of and now in international football.

Gaetano Castrovilli now has a European Championship winners medal. Maybe he didn’t play a major part in the victory, with just one appearance of a handful of minutes. But we’ve heard so much about the group spirit in this squad, which played a vital role in their success, and Castrovilli was a part of that. He’s also a player who has plenty of international football and major tournaments still in front of him.

Italy Champions Portraits - UEFA Euro 2020: Final Photo by Michael Regan - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Arriva un brivido e ti trascina via

E sciogli in un abbraccio la follia

(A thrill comes and carries you away

And melts madness in an embrace)

I often hear people say they can’t get behind a team which includes, Leonardo Bonucci. You have to admire the quality of the player though and what a partnership he has with Chiellini. Seeing him score last night and celebrate the way he did brought me nothing but happiness. As for after the game, screaming into the camera “It’s coming to Rome”, that was just beautiful, and something which I’m sure upset a lot of English fans even more.

It’s time to say goodbye to the Euros, and I for one will miss it. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, I think seeing so many fans back in the stadium for the games was something that made it even more special after watching football with empty grounds and silence for so long now. Watching Italy shine from the very start of the tournament has also been a weird feeling, and the opening game in Rome was preceded by a spectacular opening ceremony which included Andrea Bocelli.

Since then it’s been edge of the seat stuff. We had the Christian Eriksen drama so early in the competition, and watching that live on TV, to be honest I was ready to switch off from this tournament. Thankfully, it ended better than was first feared, and seeing Denmark do so well and go so far in the competition afterwards was another special part of the whole event. We had Switzerland knocking out the World Cup holders France in a dramatic game, we had Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine making it to the quarter-finals, and yes, we had an England team finally make it to a major final after so long.

Forse non sarà una canzone

A cambiar le regole del gioco

(Maybe it won’t be a song

To change the rules of the game)

In the end it came down to penalties, and it’s a horrible way to lose any game, let alone to let slip one of the biggest prizes in football. I do believe that the best team won, both on the night and in the overall tournament. Now that it’s all over, people can go back to worrying which players we may lose in the transfer window and whether we can have a more competitive squad for the upcoming season. Then it will be time to go back to the old rivalries, to hating Chiellini and Bonucci, despising Chiesa and Bernardeschi. Me? I’m not done yet with soaking up this beautiful, hard-fought win. It really has been un estate italiana, and un’avventura!