Dear Mr. Antonio Conte,
As you awaken this morning, I can hardly imagine what you are feeling. I could not imagine you have awoken with a smile on your face, as anything less than total victory suffices in your eyes. But, perhaps you’ve achieved something far greater and far more meaningful in the grande scheme of things. You turned arguably the most pessimistic group of people in the world, the Italians, into a unified and believing fan base in such a manner that we may never again see.
I, myself, was a member of the doubters, at one point I had even said that you should resign. In retrospect, the underwhelming performances against teams like Malta, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria or England. Maybe it was the squad selection that left everybody from the peninsula scratching their heads. But in the end, after two years of work, the final product was there. You chose and crafted 23 men who would run through a brick wall or storm the gates of hell without question – and probably do it with a smile.
You personify grinta. I don’t believe there is a way you can translate that word into another language other than by showing somebody a 30 second video of you on the touchline. I could hardly imagine what it was like in training. You have your ways, and with three Scudetti, a Coppa Italia, and a heroic European Championship to show for it, very few now will be able to question it with merit.
Throughout this tournament, your men used key words in the interviews such as “unity, spirit, passion, brothers, faith,” the list goes on. We haven’t seen an Italy side this bonded together in a very long time. We witnessed the transformation of several players into gladiators. More so, astounding, is the fact that you did all of this in only a few weeks.
In the end, we conceded two goals in five matches and beat the champions of Europe and took the champions of the world deep into penalties. There’s no question, you turned water into fine wine and won the hearts of every Azzurri fan from across the globe. You did it all your way, through all the doubt, disgust and utter confusion of the media and fans alike. The best compliment I could give you is, you proved everybody wrong.
The future for the Nazionale is at a bit of a crossroads. Many new players are needed to bring back the quality needed to beat the best, and a new era is incoming for the Azzurri. The one thing I hope that is not lost or forgotten from this arduous march that you led for two years is the sacrifice and unity you bred into this side. Perhaps in two years time, with the same attitude and new players, we can say in the end, ‘you were victorious’.
Grazie di tutto,