“It’s unbelievable, I am so excited. When the penalty came it was a difficult moment for me but I stuck it away,” said the Inter Milan bound fullback, who also scored Italy’s opener against Germany in extra time.
Coach Marcello Lippi said this victory surpassed anything he had achieved before.
“I have won titles as a coach at home and abroad but I have never felt such sheer joy. This is the greatest satisfaction I have ever experienced in my career.
“I dedicate the victory to my family and to this wonderful group of players who showed such heart and determination,” the 58 year old said.
Tough midfielder Gennaro Gattuso echoed his coach’s sentiments.
Winners are grinners
“I am so happy right now. It is an unforgettable moment, I will never forget it,” the AC Milan player said.
Keeper Gianluigi Buffon said he had fulfilled a dream.
“This is really the fulfilment of a childhood dream. We pulled it off through unity and teamwork, mixed in with some individual talent,” said Buffon.
The goalkeeper believed it was his duty to point out the head butt of Zinedine Zidane to the referee’s assistant.
“I really felt I had to point it out for the sake of the team. I wanted to defend the team with my gesture,” said the Juventus goalkeeper.
“I was sure we could win throughout,” he added.
Captain Fabio Cannavaro believed he had finally expelled his demons from the Euro 2000 final.
“I was the only one remaining from Rotterdam and that was in my mind but it all went off fine,” said Cannavaro.
“My son asked if he could sleep in my bed last night, but I told him he could share it with me – and the trophy – soon,” he grinned.
“Italy have wanted this for a long time and, coming after everything that has happened in the past few months, it was really needed,” said Cannavaro referring to the match fixing scandals currently gripping the nation.
“Winning like that on a shootout was really emotional – I am so happy as we really fought to achieve something at this World Cup. I hardly dared imagine we would win it. But we really deserved it.”