The day after Italy’s agonizing shootout loss to Germany in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, it was time to go home. As the team boarded the bus outside their hotel, the gathered fans remained ardent with their support. So to show his gratitude, goalkeeper and captain Gigi Buffon stopped just before boarding, went over to them and gave out a few world-class hugs.
Buffon, who went the right way on six of seven German penalties he faced, was in tears after the game — as were many of his teammates. Though this might have been the last time we see him in an Italy shirt, he remains hopeful about the future of the national team. From Football Italia:
“We reached the Euros looking like a chaotic bunch of minnows, but we return home as a solid side that people fear and respect,” Buffon told Rai Sport this morning.
“What we leave behind is an enormous treasure and it mustn’t be wasted. We’ve proved that with the culture of hard work and sacrifice we can climb mountains — and we did.
“That is an important inheritance for the future.”
The day he retires will be an especially sad one, but hugs like those might help.