Italy boss Roberto Mancini has written an open letter to his country and the supporters of the national team ahead of Gli Azzurri opening their European Championship against Turkey in Rome on Friday evening.
Mancini has led his side on a 27-game unbeaten run, and he’ll be keen to hit the ground running at the Stadio Olimpico.
Posting a letter on his personal website, Mancini addressed Italians and Azzurri fans.
“Dear Italy,” Mancini wrote, “it seems a though an eternity has passed since that night against Greece at the Olimpico that sealed our qualification. It was October 2019, we were euphoric… 2020 was supposed to be a year of great satisfaction, a year in which to share a lot of joy together, but we all know how it went.
“It was a year in which we changed our habits, for some people it was a year in which months were spent away from the people we love and, unfortunately, a lot of people have lost loved ones.
“The simplest things have become more complex and it wasn’t easy for anybody. But, everyone has made it through in their own way. The consequences of this global pandemic are still evident, and we have to be strong for a little while yet.
“This is why we are going to play this tournament aware of the strength of the blue shirt and of the Italian people. We will honour it every minute, we’ll go onto the pitch with the lightheartedness of youth but with the responsibility of representing one of the strongest and most beautiful countries in the world.
“United under a single blue sky, wearing that blue shirt, let’s join together in a single chorus that unites more than 60 million Italians: FORZA AZZURRI!”