Thursday March 17 2011
World Cup heroes mark Italy Day

It's the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, so World Cup winners Gigi Buffon, Simone Perrotta and Francesco Totti give their thoughts.

Italy became one nation on this day 150 years ago and there have been celebrations marking the event, including the anthem played before every Serie A game at the weekend.

“On the field I defend our colours, love our flag and sing our anthem,” said Juventus goalkeeper Buffon.

“I could not be more Italian than I am now. I see this celebration as a way of rediscovering certain values, traditions and our roots.”

Perrotta was in the 2006 World Cup winning squad for Italy and was born in Great Britain from Italian parents.

“I would like this to be not just a day of celebration, but the chance to really take note of what it means to be united in a country that is too often torn apart by controversy,” said the midfielder.

“The ‘unity of Italy' should not just be on paper, but we must all feel it and defend it.”

Totti retired from the Azzurri after the World Cup triumph in Berlin and he took a wider view of the event.

“It's hard not to be rhetorical when thinking about your nation,” wrote the Roma captain.

“I like to think of the Italian military who are around the world spreading democracy and our values with pride, risking their lives every day.

“I think of them and all the Italians who work hard, research for new developments and artists who bring lustre to our country. I think of those who work for others, honestly pay their taxes and keep a family going amid a thousand difficulties.

“Our nation has many problems, but also reasons for all of us to celebrate together.”

Alessandro Del Piero kept his thoughts brief and merely wrote on his Facebook page: “Happy Birthday, Italy.”

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