The Award Ceremony of the ‘Hall of Fame of Italian football’ was held on Monday 23 May 2022 in the prestigious Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence. The award was established in 2011 by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC )and the Fondazione Museo del Calcio to celebrate the figures who have left a mark on the history of our football.
The winners of the tenth edition: Alessandro Nesta (Italian Footballer), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Foreign Footballer), Antonio Conte (Coach), Gianluca Rocchi (Italian Referee), Antonio Cabrini (Italian Veteran), Barbara Bonansea (Italian Footballer), Giovanni Sartori (Italian Manager), Simon Kjær (Astori Award), Antonella Carta. The Memorial Prizes were awarded to Luigi Simoni, Armando Picchi, Romano Fogli, Fino Fini and Vujadin Boskov.
The winners of the ninth edition: Andrea Pirlo (Italian Footballer), Zbigniew Boniek (Foreign Footballer), Carlo Mazzone (Coach), Antonio Percassi (Italian Manager), Alberto Michelotti (Italian Referee), Gabriele Oriali (Italian Veteran), Sara Gama ( Italian footballer), Pietro Anastasi and Luigi Radice (Memorial Awards), Romelu Lukaku and Mattia Agnese (Astori Award).
“There is a real desire to live the sport of football in our country” the federal president, Gabriele Gravina underlined from the stage: “Today is a truly wonderful day, as we come together to relive some extraordinary moments, that have withstood time and existence. I want to thank everyone who has made this event a success”.
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Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, highlighted the close relationship between the Tuscan capital and Italian football: “I am of course delighted that here in Florence, we are home to several Italian national football teams including Coverciano. It is an honour to hold this ceremony in these eternally beautiful halls, which share the prestige of the Italian football Hall of Fame”.
The winners. The awards for the ‘coach’ category, which were awarded to Carlo Mazzone and Antonio Conte, kicked the ceremony off. The former Roma boss is the “perfect blend of gentleman”, which is one of the many reasons for his induction into the Hall of Fame. He made his happiness known by echoing the words of Giovanni Galli, the goalkeeper to whom he handed a Serie A debut in 1977: “It’s a great honor that makes me really happy”. “Personality” and “self-denial” are the words that come to mind when considering Antonio Conte’s nomination: “This recognition makes me proud”, underlined the current Tottenham coach in a video message.
“I wish to thank president Gravina, the FIGC and the panel of judges, who deemed me worthy of a place on this list of decorated players”, commented Zbigniew Boniek, who entered the Hall of Fame (9th edition) winning the ‘foreign player’ category; as well as Karl-Heinz Rumenigge (10th edition), once descried as an “true legend of European football”, as he recalled the “wonderful years spent in Italy”.
Two of the stars of Milena Bertolini’s women’s national team, Sara Gama and Barbara Bonansea, entered the Hall of Fame for the ‘Italian footballer’ category. “We have sacrificed so much so that our voices heard as players” underlined the Azzurre captain, while Barbara Bonansea continued “it’s an honour to stand here, alongside so many greats”. Another legend of Italian women’s football was also subject to an award, as Antonella Carta brought her own donation to the Football Museum: one of the official balls used in the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
For the ‘managers’ category, two superstars of Italian football in recent years have now been entered, in Antonio Percassi and Giovanni Sartori. The latter offered the jerseys of two iconic captains, Gianpaolo Bellini and Sergio Pellissier, who live long in the recent history of two clubs in which he served as manager, Atalanta and Chievo.
Andrea Pirlo and Alessandra Nesta, 2006 world champions and icons of Italian history, took to the podium of the Salone dei Cinquecento, after being introduced by the ceremony’s two presenters, Pierluigi Pardo and Eva Murati. They were nominated for the ‘Italian footballer’ category, by another familiar face when it comes to success on the world’s stage, Marco Tardelli.
The voice of the Football Museum Foundation president, Matteo Marani, relived the memory of Luigi Simoni, Armando Picchi, Romano Fogli, Fino Fini, Vujadin Boskov, Pietro Anastasi and Luigi Radice, who have all been awarded prizes for the memory of the last two editions of the Hall of Fame. “The Football Museum contains 122 years of the Federation’s history, which emanate from the victories of four world titles and two European titles. I would like to thank the president of the FIGC, Gabriele Gravina, for supporting the museum; a place that welcomes and integrates, looking fondly on the past but preparing for the future”, said Marani.
Alberto Michelotti and Gianluca Rocchi also entered the Hall of Fame through the ‘referees’ category. The chief selector of CAN A and B, Gianluca Rocchi, recently confirmed that the role he currently holds is “more difficult than that he ever had to encounter as a referee …”.
Spearheads of the 1982 Spanish World Cup, Gabriele Oriali and Antonio Cabrini entered the ‘Hall of Fame of Italian football’ as ‘Italian veterans’. “Being part of the team that won the World Cup in Iberia, was privilege enough… Bearzot was not just a coach, but also like a father figure. He was a great student of the game and always gave you the environment to thrive and achieve your potential” said Oriali. Cabrini recounted his lengthy Azzurri career, as both a player and coach: “I first visited Coverciano fifty years ago…”. Both were granted their entry by current national team coach, Roberto Mancini, who announced with a tear in his eye: “I always loved to watch the 1982 national team”.
The ceremony was brought to a conclusion with the ‘Astori Award’ which was awarded to young footballer, Mattia Agnese, who has already been a winner of the FIFA Fair Play award, in 2020 , after saving an opponent’s life on the pitch.