the italian legend
The man with the most appearances with the Italian team (176), retired internationally since 2018 and who lives the epilogue of his career at Parma, in Serie B, also regrets, in support of Thibaut Courtois, that this demarcation does not is regularly considered for the Ballon d’Or.
What feelings do you have at the gates of a new World Cup starting without Italy?
“Like typhoid, it’s sad. But those who are even worse are the players. I lived it (in 2018). When the World Cup starts and you’re at home. It’s a great suffering, a weight that you will always carry. The future of your career is something that has been taken from the Tifosi, from the Italian people, it is the most difficult thing to accept”.
With the perspective of time, how do you explain the surprising defeat of Italy against North Macedonia in the playoffs (0-1)?
“It’s unthinkable, but it makes you understand to what extent the psychological aspect is decisive in sport. Italy probably played with the disappointment of not finishing at the top of their group, the missed penalties (against Switzerland). Those negative aspects They made the same supposedly easy game become an insurmountable obstacle”.
After your title in 2006, tell us to what extent a World Cup can change a player’s life.
“It is a competition in which, if you do worse than expected, you feel besieged from all sides. But if you go further, like we did in 2006, it is an ecstasy that remains for months. A magnificent feeling, because you understand that you are an essential tool for people’s happiness, the most beautiful thing in the world”.
Since its inception in 1995, the role of the goalkeeper has not ceased to evolve with more and more footwork. How do you judge that evolution?
“This evolution improved football, the game and the rhythm, but also the goalkeepers. A goalkeeper knows how to do more things nowadays, it’s nice to see him live the game with the rest of the team. But as in everything, do not exaggerate. It’s important for a goalkeeper to have good feet and make good passes. But the most important thing is still that he knows how to make saves. A goalkeeper who stops doing something essential: gives security to the team”.
Do you consider that you yourself have contributed something to that position?
“I think I’ve been different, yes, I think I’ve deserved a place in the history of that position, but I don’t know what I’ve contributed. What’s nice is having started in 1995 and continuing to play even though football hasn’t stopped evolve. That means I’m able to adapt.”
Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid goalkeeper, recently complained that goalkeepers for the Ballon d’Or are often “forgotten.” Is it impossible for a goalkeeper to win that trophy?
“I think it’s possible, but it would be necessary for exceptional circumstances to arise, linked to a social, political or other context. It’s logical that he got angry: he was considered the best goalkeeper in the Champions League and was only seventh in the Ball of Gold, that cannot be explained… In 2003 I was named the best goalkeeper but also the best player in the Champions League and I was ninth in the Ballon d’Or. That means that something is not working, is my opinion, but with all calm, huh!
You created an Academy two years ago, what advice do you give young goalkeepers?
“Always the same: having fun. It’s the only real ingredient that can make you reach 44 years of age by always playing. This project gives me a lot of satisfaction. In two years we’ve done ‘stages’ in Australia, Bulgaria, the United States, Israel, China … And they call us from everywhere.
Who do you think will win the World Cup?
“Argentina or Brazil, I see them as very strong. On an individual level, France seems to me the only European nation that can compete, but as a team I don’t know. And maybe Belgium, because I really like Courtois.”