Leonardo Bonucci was the scourge of England fans during the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
Italy get the better of England
It was the Italy defender’s gut punch of an equaliser that first set the wheels in motion for an England defeat, cancelling out the record-breaking start the hosts had made through Luke Shaw.
Marry that to his heroic defending alongside the colossal Giorgio Chiellini and the Juventus hero was able to safeguard Italy all the way to a penalty shootout in which they triumphed 3-2.
Bonucci even had the nerve to step up and take one of the spot-kicks himself, avoiding the fate of his teammates Andrea Belotti and Jorginho by way of getting the better of Jordan Pickford.
England vs Italy match reaction (Football Terrace)
Bonucci winds up England fans
However, it was the way in which Bonucci reacted to Italy’s penalty shootout rather than his own effort from 12 yards that caught the attention of England fans once they had been consigned to defeat.
That’s because the 34-year-old decided to throw England’s beloved ‘Three Lions’ anthem back in their face by mercilessly shouting ‘It’s coming to Rome’ down the camera lens as he celebrated.
While it most certainly rattled the cage of England fans at the time, no doubt many of them have now reflected on the wind-up tactic and admitted: ‘fair play,’ through gritted teeth.
However, hold that thought, because Bonucci wasn’t finished with his s***housery there because the Italian juggernaut seemed to be hellbent on reminding England exactly who won the tournament.
Bonucci’s wind-up mission
With everything from pasta jokes to necking beer in the press conference, Bonucci made for blockbuster entertainment as he subtly rubbed salt in English wounds as part of his celebrations.
As such, strap yourselves in because here is our whistle-stop tour of Bonucci’s job application for the role of ‘football’s ultimate s***house’ on the back of the Euro 2020 final.
In a week where England fans had joked that they would stave off Italian staples like pizza and bolognese, Bonucci was keen to make sure that the Wembley crowd paid the price.
According to Goal, the former AC Milan defender could be heard trolling England supporters during his lap of honour by declaring: “More pasta! We need to eat more pasta!”
More ‘Three Lions’ shenanigans
When Bonucci wasn’t screaming ‘It’s coming to Rome’ down camera lenses, he was making England fans wish they’d never uttered a single lyric of ‘Three Lions’.
Per the Independent, Bonucci confirmed that Italy used the song as motivation, saying: “We heard it day in day out ever since Wednesday night since the Denmark game that the cup would be coming home to London.
“Sorry for them but actually the cup will be taking a nice flight to Rome and that way Italians all over the world can savour this competition. It is for everyone, we said from day one it was for them and for us.”
‘Italy taught England a lesson’
And it didn’t end there because despite the game proving a close battle that went all the way to a penalty shootout in which Italy missed twice, Bonucci clearly thought that his side battered England.
“Seeing 58,000 people leave before the trophy was handed out is something to relish, now the Cup is coming to Rome,” Bonucci told Rai, according to Euro Sport.
“They thought it was staying in London, sorry for them, but Italy once again taught a lesson.
“We said during the warm-up, what was happening in the stands was purely just background noise. We had 34 games unbeaten, all we needed to do was exactly what we’d done so far to get here, not one bit more, not one bit less.”
Beer and Coca Cola
Then, just to rub salt into English wounds, Bonucci hopped on the trend of sponsorship shenanigans in Euros press conferences by illustrating just how much he was enjoying Italy’s triumph.
England fans must have wanted to turn off their televisions and slam down their laptops when their tormentor started basking in Italian glory with a swig of beer and pop.
Italy’s loveable rogue
Now, it’s important to clarify here that one’s labelling of Bonucci as, ummm, a s***house is meant fondly and football wouldn’t be football without this element of competitiveness and oneupmanship.
It might not set the greatest example for young footballers and it certainly stung as an England fan, but when you’ve played the way that Bonucci did all summer long then, frankly, power to you.
So, the best course of action for England fans now is to give Bonucci and the Italians a reluctant round of applause, while secretly hoping that there’s a chance for revenge when the World Cup rolls around.