Italian wish: celebrate four legendary number 10s in Euro preparations

Luciano Spalletti wants to involve four icons of Italian football in the preparation for the European Championship. In doing so, the national team coach hopes to motivate his players to make history once again.

Italian wish: celebrate four legendary number 10s in Euro preparations Embed from Getty Images

The Italian football community is set to witness a nostalgic and potentially impactful event as coach Luciano Spalletti has extended an invitation to four of Italy's most iconic footballers Giancarlo Antognoni, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, and Francesco Totti to visit the national team's training camp at Coverciano.

This gathering is intended to inspire the current squad as they prepare for the upcoming European Championship, leveraging the rich history and experience of these legendary players, each of whom has donned the prestigious azzurro number 10 jersey during their illustrious careers.

Giancarlo Antognoni, now 70, was part of the victorious 1982 World Cup team, a triumph that remains a proud moment in Italian football history. Roberto Baggio, 57, is remembered for his pivotal role in the 1994 World Cup where Italy reached the finals, although his missed penalty in the shootout is equally unforgettable. Alessandro Del Piero, 49, contributed significantly to Italy's 2006 World Cup win, providing crucial goals and assists. Francesco Totti, the youngest of the group at 47, was a key figure in the 2000 European Championship, particularly remembered for his audacious panenka penalty.

Spalletti, expressing his vision for their visit, noted the unique inspiration these figures could provide: "Imagine if those four number 10s could assist at one of our training sessions. That would motivate the boys to improve their performance." He highlighted the profound impact that their presence could have on the team, combining historical success with personal mentorship to elevate the squad's ambition and drive.

This initiative mirrors a previous strategy where Gianluca Vialli, a former Italian striker and a close friend of then-coach Roberto Mancini, served as team manager. Despite battling pancreatic cancer, Vialli's leadership was instrumental in Italy's success at the European Championship three years ago. His legacy continues to inspire, demonstrating the profound influence that past heroes can exert on current and future generations.

The current team manager, legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, represents another link between Italy’s storied past and its hopeful future. The presence of these former greats is more than a symbolic gesture it's a bridge connecting different eras of Italian football, designed to instill confidence, pride, and a sense of continuity within the team.

As the football community awaits the official invitation from the federation, anticipation builds not only for a tournament but for a historic reunion that promises to blend the past's glory with the present's potential. This strategy of engaging former legends reflects a broader vision of cultivating a strong team spirit and a winning mentality, crucial for succeeding at the highest levels of international football.

Updated: 11:42, 1 May 2024

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