It's Been A Year Since Roberto Mancini Made The Most Heartwarming Substitution In Recent Memory
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It has been a year since Italy manager Roberto Mancini brought on goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 89th minute of their European Championship clash against Wales – and it's a gesture that is still being spoken about to this day.
To give you some context, eventual-winners of the competition Italy were already through to the last-16 at Euro 2020 when former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss Mancini brought off Gianluigi Donnarumma with just a couple of minutes remaining.
As they held a 1-0 lead against Wales in their final Group A game, many fans questioned the move to bring on Sirigu, who hadn't featured in the competition until that very moment. But the real reason behind the decision was soon revealed and it touched people's hearts.
If you cast your mind back to the 1990 World Cup in Italy, former Sampdoria and Lazio striker Roberto Mancini was part of their 22-man squad, but he failed to record a single minute of playing time on home soil, something he says is the biggest regret of his career
So, as a result of his disappointment, he made it his personal mission to give all 26 players a game during last summer's European Championship.
WC 1990: Roberto Mancini part of that Italy squad— Jerry Mancini (@jmancini8) June 22, 2021
1 of the only players to not play a single minute in that WC
Still regards it as 1 of his biggest regrets
He brought on Sirigu in the 89th min vs Wales
Wants every player to play a part in the Euros, not go through what he did
That's right. Mancini wanted to make sure that none of his players experienced the same feeling of missing out, like he did all those years ago. Now that is what you call world class man-management.
Mancini even sending Sirigu on for a few minutes in goal. His approach with this squad speaks to his own regrets as a footballer. Went to a World Cup in 1990 and didn't play. Says it's still his greatest regret that he never got to play in one.— Nicky Bandini (@NickyBandini) June 20, 2021
Italy, of course, went on to win Euro 2020 after beating England on penalties and after the full-time whistle, an emotional Mancini said he was "due this" after heartache in the past.
"I was very fortunate to play in a great side in 1990 and a terrific under-21 team," he said. "Despite the fact we were the best team, we didn't win it and lost both times on penalties."
He added: "Seeing everything we have managed to create, all of the hard work we have put in over the last three years, but specifically the last 50 days which have been very hard."