The original text was published on the official website of The Players' Tribune on March 31, 2020
A Letter to Italy
By Fabio Cannavaro
To all Italian compatriots,
What is happening in our country now makes me very heartache and anxious. I can't describe it in words, watching Italy endure this, so many lives leave us every day, it makes me feel so uncomfortable. For those directly affected, especially those who have experienced the loss of loved ones, my heart is with you.
I would also like to pay tribute to all the medical staff who have done everything to save lives. You are the true heroes that our country needs now.
Unfortunately, the facts tell us that we are not supermen. None of us is absolutely immune to the virus. But when the epidemic broke out in China, we in Italy all thought we would be fine, and we all felt that we would not be affected.
Frankly speaking, I definitely underestimated all of this myself. At first, I really thought it was a flu.
We were really wrong.
At least now the country requires everyone to stay at home. I returned to China a few weeks ago and started living in isolation. People here have experienced SARS and they know what to do. In Italy, we have never seen such a serious emergency.
But now, we are fighting the virus, we must unite, which also means that we must show our best.
Of course, we all know what a wonderful country Italy is. We have a wonderful coastline and beautiful countryside. Our climate allows us to spend a lot of time outdoors. We have fashion and food. But because life in Italy is easy, sometimes it makes us feel self-satisfied. Sometimes we only care about what we have, and ignore the common interests of everyone. When we do that, we are actually wasting our potential.
Fortunately, there have been many moments for us to show our common honor, and these moments are often in times of adversity, when something very important is counting on us.
I have experienced it many times myself, and the best example is when we played the World Cup. Maybe it is inappropriate to mention sports at this moment, because sports games are the most insignificant at this moment, but we all know that in Italy, football is far more than just a sport. When our national team played, all Italians felt that they were a part of it, and everyone was united.
When Italians are united, we usually get good results.
I still remember the moment I witnessed the 1982 World Cup victory in Italy. At that time, I was just an 8-year-old boy living in my hometown of Naples. At that time, I watched the game with many relatives and friends at home. I remember when Italy scored a goal, we shouted and hugged excitedly, even though not all of us knew each other.
When I went to the 2006 World Cup as the captain of Italy, I witnessed similar things happen to my teammates. The scandal in Italian football happened just before the World Cup, so when we started preparing for the match, we were all very nervous. Many people think that the scandal will distract us.
But the atmosphere at the training camp was always good at that time, and that was very important to us. At the crucial moment, we don't only care about ourselves, we care about each other. We also had a very good leader, Lippi, who filled the whole team with an atmosphere of harmony and mutual encouragement. When we landed in Germany, we left the scandal behind and we just couldn't wait to start the game.
Many people asked me how the Italian team won the World Cup. We won not because we were lucky, we won because we were the best team in the World Cup, but also because we had the belief that we could win the championship.
What we need now is the kind of cohesion that cannot be defeated. We have seen many examples of unity. The phrase "andrà tutto bene"-"Everything will be fine" is for all people who are trapped at home, who are afraid, lonely or sad. People stood on their balconies applauding the medical staff, and neighbors sang together. These are all the unity we need.
When this crisis is over, Italy will be different. Many people have lost their jobs, some people have lost their own businesses, and we still have many things to do next. We can only hope that the vaccine can be developed as soon as possible, so that we can hope to completely end this nightmare crisis.
Until then, we must stick to it. Therefore, let us stay at home and spend this time with our family members, and limit direct contact with others as much as possible.
Let us work together for the common good. In order to do my best, I started a fundraising event with my 2006 World Cup teammates. All donations will be donated to the Italian Red Cross and will be used to purchase supplies that are missing in Italian hospitals. I hope you can do your part with me.
Even if you can’t, just do a small move for your neighbor, it will be very warm and useful. We must remember that this fight against the epidemic requires our unity, and we need everyone to join in.
Well, maybe we are not Superman.
But if we can unite, I believe that we can accomplish anything.
Come on, my brothers and sisters.
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Thank you for reading.
I wish you all peace!