- 01 Aug 14
No? That Didn’t Come Naturally, did it? So Why is it that the Irish Have Such a Poor Self-image?
In his autobiography I Think Therefore I Play, the Italian footballer Andrea Pirlo writes of what was going through his mind as he took the first penalty in the 2006 World Cup final shootout in which he faced Fabien Barthez. That penalty, he says, opened his eyes to his identity as an Italian. While walking up to take it he realised how grateful he was to be an Italian…
I took a long, intense breath. That breath was mine, but it could have been the manual worker who struggles to make it to the end of the month, the rich businessman who is a bit of a shit, the teacher, the student, the Italian expats who never left our side during the tournament, the well-to-do Milanese signora, the hooker on the street corner. In that moment, I was all of them. You won’t believe me, but it was right in that very moment I understood what a great thing it is to be Italian. It’s a truly priceless privilege.