Italy striker Graziano Pelle may well have found the back of the net against Spain on Monday, but it's fair to say that he would have had more than one goal on another day.
Well, he would have probably scored on more than one occasion if Spain's No.1 goalkeeper wasn't David de Gea.
The Manchester United shot-stopper, who has won the club's Player of the Year award for the past three consecutive seasons, was in tremendous form during the Euro 2016 Round of 16 contest at the Stade de France.
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De Gea was ultimately on the wrong side of the result, but he truly produced a commendable display against a rampant Italian side.
Indeed, the 25-year-old made save after save to keep his side in the game but was unable to stop Italy from progressing.
And there was one save in particular that stood out; De Gea brilliantly got down to his left to keep out a wonderful header from Southampton striker Pelle.
The save was so good that Pelle labeled it a 'miracle' and admitted that he reminded De Gea that he had also performed something similar while playing against him for Manchester United against Southampton.
Pelle stated, as per ESPN: "Scoring at the end feels great, but I had also tried in the first half and De Gea performed a miracle.
"He's done that to me before in the Premier League too, so I reminded him and we had a laugh."
Discussing Italy's performance, Pelle added: "Once again we showed we had heart, determination and a lot more besides. This team is not just attack, defence or midfield. We are a united group and this is fundamental."
It must be noted, of course, that De Gea was actually at fault for Italy's first goal after spilling an Eder free-kick, but he certainly made up for it and was let down by the rest of his teammates.
Golden era over
Ultimately, Spain just weren't good enough and defender Gerard Pique admitted that the golden era may now be over.
“We have to be realistic, we don’t have the level that we had a couple of years ago when we were champions of Europe and champions of the world,” Piqué said, as per The Guardian.
“We have young players coming through who are very promising, veterans who have to keep on bringing our experience and talent to the team. But the level isn’t the same. We have to accept that, be self-critical, face up to these next two years and do all we can to prepare for Russia in better conditions, with a higher level of play.”
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