I can't describe how horrific it is - Cannavaro.

I can’t describe how horrific it is – Cannavaro.

Fabio A. Cannavaro Tribune players Message to Italy affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The world champion, the soccer player – who has been in China for years – spoke affectionately with his fellow countrymen.


Fabio Cannavaro wrote a touching letter to his fellow Italians (Photo: AFP)

Home to all,

What is happening in our country at the moment is full of anxiety and pain. I cannot describe how horrific it is to see Italy suffer this way, and see the number of deaths every day. I speak from the bottom of my heart to everyone involved, especially those who have lost loved ones.

I also want to thank the health workers who work hard to save as many lives as possible. You are the true heroes our country needs right now.

The sad truth is that none of us is Superman. None of us are immune to the virus. When the epidemic broke out in China, I felt that we Italians would be fine. We all thought, uh, it doesn’t affect us.

I definitely underestimated it. At first I thought it was just the flu.

How much have we done wrong.

We should have locked down the country and told people to stay home. Here in China, where I work as a coach at Guangzhou Evergrande, I was fired a few weeks ago. People here actually suffered from SARS, so they knew what they were doing. There had never been such an emergency in Italy before.

But now that we are in the middle of the battle, we must fight together. This means we need to get the best out of ourselves.

Of course, we all know that Italy is an amazing country. We have stunning beaches and stunning landscapes. We have a climate that allows us to spend a lot of time outdoors. We have fashion, we have food. Life in Italy is so good that sometimes we tend to rest on our laurels. Sometimes we get preoccupied with our own things instead of thinking about the common good. And when we do, we waste our chances.

But fortunately, there are also moments when we really choose to show our pride – and those moments happen when we have nothing easy to do. When something is at stake.

I have tried this many times, and the best example of this is Italy winning the World Cup. It might seem odd that we come to this now, when sport seems more frivolous than ever. But as we all know soccer in Italy is more than just a simple sport. When the national team plays, everyone becomes a part of it. Everyone unites.

And when Italians do something together, they do it well.

I still remember when Italy won the 1982 World Cup. I was just an eight-year-old in Naples, my hometown, watching matches with so many people, relatives and friends. I remember when Italy scored a goal, we shouted and hugged each other, even if we all didn’t know each other.

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Strength in Unity – 2006 World Champion Urges Joint Action (Photo: AFP)

When I was captain of a team in the 2006 World Cup, something similar happened to the players. The betting scandal erupted right before the tournament started, so when we got ready, we were still fully involved in what was happening. Lots of people thought the scandal would break us.

However, the atmosphere in the training camp was good and that was the key. In this critical period, we didn’t just pay attention to ourselves. We were watching everyone. We have been a great captain in the person of Marcelo Lippi. He also maintained harmony and motivation in the team. The moment we landed in Germany, we practically left the scandal behind and barely waited until take off.

So far, people ask me how we managed to win the World Cup. We didn’t win because we were lucky. We win because we have our best team – and because we believe we can win.

Right now, the whole country needs the same unbreakable spirit. We’ve already seen some great examples of solidarity. The term andr√† tutto bene – everything will be fine – is my message to all those who remain at home, who experience fear, loneliness or depression. People go out to the balcony to greet the health workers. The neighbors sing together. This is the unit we need.

When this crisis is over, Italy will be different. Too many people lose their jobs and businesses. Extremely hard work awaits us. We can only hope that we will get the vaccine as soon as possible and that we can deal with this nightmare once and for all.

In the meantime, we have to take a peek. Let’s stay home, spend time with our family, and try to communicate with as few people as possible.

Come on, let’s try to do everything for the greater good. For my part: With the 2006 World Champion Team, we started fundraising. The proceeds will be delivered to the Italian Red Cross, who will take them to hospitals in Italy to get what they need to defeat the virus. Hope you join the fundraising campaign.

And even if you can’t, a simple hand can be helpful to your neighbor. We must not forget that we are fighting as a team and need everyone.

Of course, it’s true, none of us is Superman.

But if we work together, we are capable of anything.

Be strong, brothers!

Fabio Cannavaro

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