It seems that barely six months have gone by, and I have a need to revisit this story. This time it’s for what lies ahead instead of what was before! The guys do quite a bit of charity work but the one event they like more than any other is the Partita del Cuore (Match of the Heart). Why? First and foremost, like any typical Italian man, they love soccer and being able to participate in the game allows them to live a dream that every young Italian boy has had. Playing soccer with the professionals!
In the past the guys had the opportunity to play in the Partita del Cuore 2015 and 2018 and on July 20, 2023, at the Stadio Romeo Neri in Rimini the guys will again participate on the Nazionale Cantanti Team. It’s a beautiful moment for them to follow their dream by Going Where Their Hearts Lead Them.
We know the guys are winners in anything they do but they were big winners at Partita del Cuore in 2015. As you can see in the video below, they stole the show and shocked the reporters by their professionalism when they played soccer.
The person who surprised me more than any other was Piero. Unlike Ignazio and Gianluca, Piero did not play soccer as a child, but you would never know it from his performance in this game. He even shocked Alessandro Del Piero who once played for Junventus. But, I guess if you’re Italian, you just have soccer in your blood. Bravo guys! A great game.
The Passion for Helping Others!
I will let Gianluca tell you about this event in his own words….
You cannot imagine the happiness of playing in the Partita del Cuore, (Match of the Heart) a Telethon for Charity on June 2, 2015, at Juventus Stadium. The stadium, in fact, made Ignazio happy more than anyone, because he is a huge Juventino (a big fan of Juventus). I was more excited about having been called up for the first time in the National singers and even more for being able to score. The match was against the team of Champions for research, all great sports champions and big names in the show, from Alex Del Piero to Pavel Nedved, from Jorge Lorenzo to Liam Gallagher of Oasis. What a dream it was! The stadium was full of people cheering crazy. My team was losing, when I came in, we were 3 to 4 and not being able to do anything, apart from shouting directions to my team-mates on the pitch, it made me feel even more strained. It’s like, I know how to play football, you see the others, think about what you would do for them and tell them. No, you scream it, otherwise they will not hear you. Ignazio and I shrieked like crazy to Piero, and then Piero and I shrieked like crazy to Ignazio, but ‘my legs are trembling’, I had to run, enter the pitch, I wanted to score. The coach made me enter in the 83rd minute. We were, as I said, under a goal, but I do not like losing football. So, I took the ball and I scored. What magic! The stadium was screaming, the guys ran to hug me, it was almost like winning the Sanremo Festival again.
But it didn’t end there! In 2018 the guys participated again in Genoa at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. This video is very nice. It’s the guys on their way to Genoa and on the bus with all the teams and of course at the stadium.
And of course, Gianluca scored a goal!
Soccer is certainly not unfamiliar to our guys. Especially not to Ignazio and Gianluca.
A Family Passion for Soccer!
Between the age of eleven and thirteen, Gianluca enjoyed playing soccer! What was it Gianluca loved about soccer? You might say for Gianluca the passion was inherited! Let’s listen to what he has to say about his passion for Soccer….
Football has always been a great passion of mine. This too, like music, is a family passion.
My father is a big fan of Pescara, as is my grandfather. They were also big fans of Gianluca Vialli, no matter which team he played in because he was a myth for my father. And because Vialli also had a name that appealed to both my father and mother, when I was born, they named me Gianluca. Let’s say that name aside, my father gave me a piece of football culture.
I am a big fan of Roma football, before Il Volo, more so. I watched all the games, I did not miss one, and every time Totti beat a penalty, I covered my head with my arms and, if I heard the scream from the television, I screamed from home. But now there are work commitments and that prevents me from following my favorite team. Even now, despite the commitments, I continue to play football as soon as I can.
When I go back to Montepagano I always try to organize a game with old friends with whom I trained in the youth teams of Roseto.
How did I play soccer? I was good, come on, I did not like losing, I wanted to score goals by force, I never passed the ball, and when I had the ball, I scored. Let’s say that I was a bit ‘instinctive’ even on the football field.
Once when I was playing in Pescara there was a score of 4 to 4. I had already scored two goals, but the draw was not enough for me, I wanted the win. Only the field was difficult, it had rained, so there was a lot of mud. What happened? I pull, huge slide and I fill myself with mud, from head to toe. What do I do? I start shouting, ‘I got dirty!’ In all this, it must be said that the game was true, even if we were very young. There was the championship, with the ranking and everything else, it’s not that you could take and do what was going on in your head. The referee shouts, ‘Get up, what are you playing ball.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m leaving, I’m all dirty!’ He shouts, ‘get up and go to the locker room.’ Not for nothing, they don’t call me the ‘little Cassano’ (famous Italian soccer player) for nothing. Cassano was so good, and he was so restless!
This is one of many stories Gianluca told about playing soccer when he was a child. Let’s think about this for a moment. If Gianluca hadn’t become a singer, would he have become a soccer player? He was real, good!
Let’s turn to Ignazio….
Ignazio said: Soccer was really a big passion for me.
Ignazio shares some soccer memories. Some of which can get you in trouble!
Near the end of July 2004, we had already packed everything for the move to Marsala. One afternoon, I went to get an ice cream with some friends, near home, really, just a few steps away. Upon returning, I saw some guys in the building next to ours playing football. I could go home and do nothing but, it was the last days I was in town? And the game was in the courtyard next to mine, it was practically like it was mine. So, I stop. I did not think to call mom with the intercom, and I played soccer, all afternoon, without even a ‘Mom, I’m down here!’ And mom started looking for me, all over Molinella. She rode around the city and did not find me. Then she called my father, who was at the supermarket shopping: ‘Come I cannot find Ignazio.’ My father arrives, my mom throws the bike in a corner, runs in the car, then, out of the corner of her eye she sees my shorts.
‘Hey, mom ….’
At one point, my mother from anger also spoke Chinese. If it had not been that we had already packed everything for the move, I certainly would have to iron two beautiful chairs full of clothes for punishment. Instead, as a punishment, no more backyard and no pizza for a month. What then, being without pizza for a month, was worse than two chairs of clothes to iron, because I always ate pizza. And pasta, too. Two other passions of mine, together with soccer and music.
My main project when I went to school was to get home and spend the afternoon playing football. It had been less so after I started taking singing lessons. I had less free time and then no free time and I realized that singing was more important than all the rest. But in general, From an early age I had a passion for football, also because my sister played football when we lived in Bologna and then she continued, even in Marsala. She played volleyball first, and I also inherited that passion, then she moved her passion to soccer.
At school I was bored, I was learning but I was bored. But I always enjoyed playing soccer. I came home, had my lunch and did my homework faster than light, because even homework bored me. As fast as I could, I went down to the playground to play football with my friends.
How about Piero?
This is one of Piero’s early soccer experiences.
Piero’s Story begins in the courtyard of the town square of Naro. This is a story you will remember!
The heat of the day has passed, and the time of rest is over and it’s time for people to come out into the square. On the bench nearby are old men. Piero is playing soccer with his friends. They are playing with his SUPER TELE (a plastic football). The ball flies off in the direction of the old men and they shout, ‘Slow with the ball or we will cut it.’ The old men frighten Piero with their threat.
Piero tells us….
What can I tell you about Naro? For me, it is the most beautiful city in the world! There are dozens of baroque churches and above the city the Chiaramonte castle. Below the castle is the beautiful Valle del Paradiso with its green pastures and the green sea that separates Naro from the real sea… and there’s the Spring Festival Narese!
Piero would gather with his friends in the afternoon and usually they played until ten in the evening but there was always the fear that the old men would pierce the ball.
Five or six years have passed since the old men scared me. The old men are still on the bench but now when they see me, they come to meet me, to greet me. Before, they scared me, and now they hug me and have that look of being proud and moved. It’s too strong for me! Yet, I still can’t explain why I become ‘weak inside’ when I see them.
The truth is, I’m still that kid with his SUPER TELE.
No, Piero was not a soccer player like Ignazio and Piero. Perhaps because he had bad allergies and asthma. For Piero it was more about family events.
Saturdays were very special for Piero….
I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning when we lit the wood burning oven. I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, which is bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week. The week passed and the next Saturday we started over again. The bread was beautiful, warm and fragrant. We also made the “impanate”, which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things, and it was visible.
What did Piero like doing? He says….
I excelled in Math, in fact, I am so good, that I am the one of the three that runs with a bag full of all of our accounts.
As for the other school subjects, I was always ordered, I was studying only the necessary, I did what I could. It is not that I did not study because of bad will, it was that I had other projects and the professors knew and understood it. I was not a tramp that ran from morning to night with the motorbike, I was one who was at home studying piano, solfeggio, I had many commitments, I always had something to do.
So, Piero’s greatest commitment was to music, as we expected.
Let’s go back to Partita del Cuore….
In 2016 after playing in the Partita del Cuore, Michelle Hunziger, host of House Party, invited Il Volo to appear on her show. The guys along with Michelle performed with many famous and interesting performers. Among them was Alessandro Del Piero.
It seems that after that fantastic play by Piero in the Partita del Cuore, Alex Del Piero, took a picture with him during the game, and the other guys were not included. Del Piero said he felt bad about it. But no problem, he made up for it up on House Party.
I know many of you have watched House Party on YouTube when the guys were on. For those of you who have never seen it, the host is Michelle Hunziker.
Michelle is a television host, actress, singer, and former model. Michelle now has a new show that the guys appeared on, Michelle Impossible….
So, what exactly did the guys do on Michelle’s show besides singing? They played soccer with Alex Del Piero. Anyone who knows anything about Ignazio knows he is a big Juventus fan, and his idol is Alex Del Piero. So obviously when they chose teams, Ignazio pairs with Del Piero and Gianluca pairs with Piero. Let’s go to the video to see how the match turned out….
In the video, before the game began, Ignazio tells Del Piero about his childhood when he played soccer with his friends. He said, when I was a little boy behind, at my house, there was a place we call nu puzzo (the well of water), this is the place where I played soccer with my friends.
Of course, we remember this from Ignazio’s story about his childhood.
Ignazio continues, since we are here with Alex we will pretend together. We will play some great football together.
Michelle says, we have two teams Juventus and the rest of the world. Let’s Go! Ignazio and Del Piero for Juventus! And Gianluca and Piero for the rest of the world!
The game certainly needs no explanation with the exception of Piero saying his mistake should not be counted.
Del Piero said, no sorry, sorry, sorry.Even when Michele tries to reason with Del Piero in defense of Piero, he says, no! He won’t hear of it.
Of course, Juventus won! So, Ignazio asked Del Piero to autograph his arm. And he joked, next time you will sing with us, yes?
When Del Piero retired, he chose not to retire his number 10 with Junventus but he did let the number live on in his famous restaurant in LA called No.10! Del Piero is now a sports reporter on ESPN.
As you know, this was not the only time the guys were on Michelles show.
(My advice, read the questions and answers first and then watch the video. It’s very cute!)