LEONARDO SPINAZZOLA has sent an impassioned letter to his Italy team-mates ahead of the Wembley showdown against England.
The defender will have to watch on from the stands after injuring his Achilles in the quarter-final match against Belgium.
Leonardo Spinazzola will be cheering his team-mates on from the Wembley stands
Spinazzola steps off the plane at Luton Airport with assistance from his crutches
But it is clear he has faith in his team-mates to win one last battle.
The England squad has also received several messages of support in the build-up to the national team’s biggest match in 55 years.
The Queen has sent her best wishes to Gareth Southgate and his team, with Boris Johnson also urging the players to “bring it home”.
Celebrities and sports people such as Anthony Joshua, Simon Cowell, Katie Price, Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield have also sent messages of support to The Three Lions.
But Spinazzola’s message comes straight from the heart as he has been a key part of the Italy squad throughout the tournament.
The letter published by La Stampa reads: “If I went back in time, I would sprint for the ball again. I would do it 100 times again, trying to earn a meter on the opponent and shift the game on our side. It’s nothing special, these are the Azzurri’s rules,” Spinazzola wrote.
“After all, you only cross the line if you are ready to give your soul to your teammates. The injury took me off the field but could not separate me from the group. My son Mattia, who is only three years old, understood that his dad could not remain on the couch at home to watch the game tonight.
“I am thrilled, I can’t hide it. When I got into the aeroplane, I felt I was reborn a little. In a few hours, I will be on the pitch with my teammates and in the stands with the rest of the country. It could have been better, but it could have been worse.
“We have the last battle of this Euros at Wembley. A tournament that I will carry inside forever. From the magic nights of the Stadio Olimpico to the temple of football against the hosts, we’ve come a long way.
“In my case, fate has added a few more kilometres to this journey: a stage of suffering in Finland, to adjust the Achilles tendon.
Spinazzola was carried off in tears after sustaining an Achilles injury against Belgium
“Now, I am ready. I feel I have still so much to give. I will return on the wings in a few months, but I like to think this evening we’ll be sprinting all together.
“I toy with the idea of seeing Bryan Cristante, the first teammate who consoled me after the injury, lifts something more meaningful than my head. Here we are. Forza Azzurri!”
England will be aiming to stop Spinazzola’s dream from becoming a reality and will hope for one more magical Wembley night.
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