Buffon: “Even the opponents fear Italy. Scamacca? It all starts from the exclusion in March”

Gianluigi Buffonhead of delegation of National Italian, spoke to Rai2 after the first day of the meeting in view of the European Championships: “It went very well, it was very nice to see each other again and know that we have this responsibility that stimulates us so much, and that is to be able to arrive at this European Championship with the possibility of being protagonists”.

Italy has often been underestimated…
“It is a national team, in my opinion, which has important values, from a human and technical point of view. I think it is a national team, incorrectly, not appreciated for its value, both as a team and as an individual. Being underestimated makes us compete well, that’s the hope.”

Is it the toughest group of the European Championships?
“It is certainly the toughest group of the European Championship, but it will also be tough for the others who will have to face us. This is a certainty and it is a strength, knowing that others fear you. In a benchmark of values, we are considered by our opponents as a potential winner.”

In the past we have beaten Spain several times. The Azzurri are always feared.
“I think this is our story, regardless of how the events go, our opponents know that, when they meet us, twenty minutes won’t go by peacefully and that they will have to be very concentrated to bring home the three points. This is by virtue of an important history and also a present, in the end we are the holders of the cup, despite having failed to qualify for the world championship. Everyone will have to sweat their proverbial sweats to beat us.”

Spalletti talks about fluid football, about invaders, builders and defenders, all in the same team. Is there time to get these principles into players’ heads?“In my opinion, yes, we have already seen it in the process since the coach arrived. Spalletti is trying to pass on important commandments to the boys, as regards the tactical, technical, behavioral and emotional aspects. This often hits the mark: I think that he and his staff are of the highest level and I believe that, operationally, they will spend 15 to 16 hours a day at the national team. In their heads, thinking about what they could do, they could reach 23 hours a day, taking away the REM hour of the night. They will do anything to make people proud of us.”

Fagioli’s call-up has been much discussed, today Spalletti explained the reason for this choice.
“I think the coach was very clear, he saw technical qualities in Nicolò that perhaps he didn’t see in the other players. He could be an additional weapon, with different characteristics. As for the rest, I don’t understand why penalize a boy further who has made a journey and paid for his mistakes. This act of following gossip and slander is a vice that we Italians should try to get rid of.”

Scamacca has yet to join his teammates, given his match against Atalanta on 2 June. Given the last few months, Spalletti has Gasperini to thank.
“Well, certainly. Gianluca has given important answers in these two and a half months, which started from the missed call-up in March. That probably acted as a spur: from then on, Scamacca scored almost every Sunday and was decisive for the own team, also for the trophies won. He seemed to me to be a player who was involved in the game at every moment, this is what Spalletti asked of him. Being able to count on an attacker who is experiencing a similar moment gives us confidence and Raspadori who are important players, with different characteristics, who can give us a lot.”

Bonucci retires: what has he left to the national team?“Very much. Leo was a great champion, a great leader, a generous boy, who always sacrificed himself for the cause, regardless of his physical form and his ailments. He wrote some fundamental pages for our national team. made us proud and made us rejoice several times.”

Spalletti explained that it is important to do your best.“The coach focuses a lot on this aspect, that of always having a certain hunger to always be able to push to the maximum and be able to try to achieve objectives that might have seemed unthinkable. I believe this is the ABC of those who want to be champions: never being satisfied , always find a reason to be important.”

He also remembered that the adversary is also there…“Of course, and sometimes there is also good or bad luck. The 2016 European Championship comes to mind: we make a great group, we finish first and unfortunately the most successful teams do badly, so we meet them all. If we had arrived in final, only Brazil was missing. You did your best and it didn’t go well: amen.”

At youth level we are working very well.
“It means that our level has returned to what our history imposes on us. When I was a boy we met England, Spain, Portugal: they were balanced matches, but more often than not we won. It seems to me that we are back on those tracks.”