Battisti and the lessons that touch the heart –

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A simple and instinctive gesture, but unexpected and therefore special. A ball that went out on the sidelines, with Italy having to score against Poland to return to the top of the Nations League: Gianluca Vialli resists the urge to kick him on the pitch, takes him in his hands and kisses him.

If there is a moment in which this national team has become a team in the fullest sense of the term, then it is easy to spot it: last November 15th, in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, with the obligation to win, with the coach Mancini positive for Covid and connected by telephone with the bench of the Reggio Emilia stadium, Azzurra was in troubled waters. That gesture of the old man marine Vialli, in a moment indicates a safe landing and contains everything: respect for the blue shirt, affection for the ball, desire to amaze and fight in a delicate moment, on and especially off the pitch.

A mixture of strong emotions that Luca has learned to govern and channel as a leader, so different and so complementary to Mancio, with whom he has recomposed the legendary Sampdoria couple. In blue, that chemistry has never worked as well as it could and the mission today is to remedy, to take revenge. If the coach has shaped this Italy from the beginning, almost like a club manager, the arrival of Vialli in the national team in October 2019, on the eve of the match against Greece that was decisive for the European pass, it brought added value.

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The role of the head of delegation in the heart of Coverciano, where he and Roberto met as kids, consists in knowing how to find the right words to motivate the group and the individuals. And also, like Thursday evening, to run on the lawn of the Olimpico with Verratti, who must recover the condition. Many of you are like me, passionate about mantras – says Vialli to the players in the Rai1 Blue Dream series – and then I remind you that a journey of a thousand kilometers begins with a single step.

Europeans 2021: all the insights

Who knows how many times he repeated it on his path with the disease. Without rhetoric, but with depth. Why Luca in the Eighties, with his curls and his calves in the wind he had the carefree physicality of those happy years; then he shaved his hair and put on more muscles, which served him to raise the Champions League with Juve here at the Olimpico. Now his lean physique is still a symbol of endurance. Gianluca in retreat sings Battisti (Who knows what will become of us / We will discover it only by living), jokes with the other Azzurri circled, the old comrades of Samp, Salsano, Lombardo, Nuciari, Evani (who arrived when Luca was already at Juve), collects the confidences of the players, gives advice and smiles.

Mancini evokes the spirit of Sampdoria, the one that in the Champions Cup final at Wembley in 1992 against Barcelona stopped right on a shot from Vialli’s side. The youth of the goal twins, who had done their hair platinum blonde for the Scudetto, had ended a few days earlier, when the center forward at dinner with president Mantovani and Mancini confessed that he had signed for Juve. Now the old atmosphere is somehow recreated, between wisdom and fooling around: Roby says we have aged but this blue adventure makes us stay young.

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June 11, 2021 (change June 11, 2021 | 08:31)


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