For those that argue that footballers are callous mercenaries with scant regard for their causes, look no further than Italians Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli, who demonstrated their charged emotion following Italy’s harrowing penalty shootout defeat to Germany in Saturday night’s Euro 2016 quarter-finals. 

​Both players, who are teammates at Juventus, struggled to contain their emotion, having performed admirably during Italy’s impressive run in the Championships, culminating in a painful 6-5 penalty shootout loss, particularly since the Azzurri had the opportunity to win in sudden death.  

Interviewed on Italian television – as reported by ​101 Great Goals – centre-back Barzagli was clearly in despair, stating:

“There is nothing, only disappointment.

“It’s a huge disappointment because we gave everything. This defeat will live forever and nothing is left of all the good we have done… (begins to mourn and ask forgiveness). So there is nothing… only disappointment.

“Germany failed to convert three penalties and it still wasn’t enough”

Goalkeeper Buffon, having shed tears at the final whistle, demonstrated his character by speaking to the cameras, although he couldn’t hold back further tears.

“We did the most that we could do and it was almost enough, which means that when you are a team with values, organisation, tactics, then nothing becomes impossible. 

“Conte complimented us, as he was proud of training a group of players and of men like us, who to the very end gave their last drop of sweat. We gave our soul to follow this dream.

“We each have our reasons to cry. We gave so much and came so close. It’s crazy to think that Germany failed to convert three penalties and it still wasn’t enough… I can’t say we’ve had worse. 

“This defeat was incredibly shocking to us. We go forward, as there are other duties and other responsibilities.”