Collins to skipper Scunthorpe
Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:12:00
Italy players and staff past and present dedicated their battling performance in last night's defeat to Spain to former Azzurri striker Stefano Borgonovo, who died on Thursday.
Cesare Prandelli's men wore black armbands for the Confederations Cup semi-final meeting with the world champions, minutes after hearing Borgonovo had passed away at the age of 49 following a long battle with motor neurone disease.
But Italy were unable to dedicate a victory to the former AC Milan, Fiorentina and Udinese forward as Spain triumphed on penalties at the end of 120 goalless minutes.
There were 12 perfect spot-kicks before Leonardo Bonucci blazed his effort over the bar, leaving Jesus Navas to slot home and book a final showdown with Brazil.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini told figc.com: "He was someone that we knew well and we wanted to dedicate a victory to him, but unfortunately that wasn't possible.
"Our best wishes go out to all his loved ones."
Italy coach Prandelli, who recognised the courage with which Borgonovo had battled his disease since his diagnosis in 2008, added: "I dedicate this game to him and to his extraordinary family.
"They have all lived through a dramatic time with great serenity."
Also among Italy's delegation in Brazil is retired midfielder Demetrio Albertini, who in the late 1980s was Borgonovo's team-mate in Arrigo Sacchi's successful Milan side.
"Stefano was a great player," Albertini said. "He was a shy lad but he was an indomitable fighter against his disease. He battled it with an immeasurable strength because he wanted to help others."
Sacchi guided the Rossoneri to one Serie A title and two European Cups with Borgonovo in his squad and today he spoke fondly of his late charge.
He said: "He fought with an incredible strength and an extraordinary dignity against a disease as ugly as [MND]. He is a hero.
"He was incredibly unlucky but showed the desire to live and to stay with his family.
"He was fundamental to our European Cup win in 1990, too, scoring a decisive goal in the semi-final against Bayern. I will always remember his footballing qualities and his desire to live and fight."
Current Rossoneri striker Mario Balotelli had the last word on his official Twitter account, writing: "Your show of strength was a life lesson for all.
"Goodbye Stefano, you will always be with me. And with us!"
Bloomfield has not featured since last August when he was diagnosed with a pelvic shear, but has now stepped up his rehabilitation as his team-mates return for pre-season training.
He told the club's official website: "I'm pleased with the progress I've made over the past couple of months and I'm heading in the right direction.
"I'm increasing my workload day on day and I can't wait to get back out there with the lads."
Bloomfield recently signed a new deal to keep him with the Chairboys, taking him into his testimonial year.
He joined from Ipswich in December 2003 and has amassed 289 appearances in his time at Adams Park.
Wycombe have received another boost with the news that striker Matt McClure will return to training from a knee injury in three weeks' time.
The 27-year-old takes over from Paul Reid after he was released following the club's relegation from League One last season.
Collins fought his way back into the Iron side in the last campaign after a year-long injury lay-off with a torn Achilles and tendinopathy.
Manager Brian Laws told the official club website: "I gave him the armband on Thursday. It's a good time for him to have it, Michael will be a focal point of our team.
"He will lead by example, which will help a lot of the younger players too - on and off the field."