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Retegui, Ready to Fight for Italy’s Honor on the Field

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Retegui

Mateo Retegui expressed his pride in represent Italy, his eagerness to shine at Euro 2024 and excitement about his debut season in Serie A.

The 25 year old striker originally from Argentina was a surprised addition to the Italian national team by coach Roberto Mancini last year. Retegui is eligible to play for Italy thanks to his great grand parents. He quickly made a mark score four goals in his first eight matches for the Azzurri.

Mateo Retegui joined Genoa coached by Alberto Gilardino last summer and had a debut season in Serie A. He scored seven goals and provided two assists in 29 matches with notable goals against Lazio, Napoli and Roma. Retegui now aims to prove himself with the Italian national team at Euro 2024.

Retegui Speaks Out

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Retegui shared his feelings about living in Italy a year after his arrival.

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Yes, it’s wonderful here. I play for Italy thanks to my great grandparents, those on my mother’s side were originally from Canicattì. He also discussed his decision to join Genoa last summer.

“I knew I was joining a team with a rich history, where great Argentinians like Diego Milito had played,” Retegui said.

Today, I want to thank everyone the club that wanted me, Coach Gilardino, who called me during the negotiations to tell me he was counting on me, my teammates who helped me fit in quickly, and the fans, who are so passionate that they remind me of Argentinians.

“When we play at the Ferraris, we become really strong. Scoring under the Curva Nord is amazing, especially when the loudspeaker repeats my name several times after a goal,” Retegui shared.

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When asked if his move to Genoa and Italy was destiny, given his history with Boca Juniors, he reflected on the journey that brought him to this point.

I believe everything that happens to us is the result of destiny. For instance, I played my first national team game at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Napoli, and you all know what Maradona means to us Argentinians.

I debuted and even scored against a strong opponent like England. If this isn’t destiny… My story is full of coincidences, as if someone had written it for me. Retegui also shared his feelings about representing Italy since his debut.

The emotions I felt then are the same as I feel now. It’s always a source of pride to wear the national team jersey, and I’m committed to defending it with everything I have, Retegui affirmed.

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My debut didn’t go exactly as I had hoped because I’m always driven to win. However, playing and scoring at the Maradona stadium will always be a cherished memory.

Retegui confirmed that he knows the entire Italian national anthem. Yes, I already knew it. I sing it well, haven’t you ever heard me? (sings Fratelliii d’Italiaaaa, ed.). I know all the words, but that’s enough because I get embarrassed!

Retegui
Retegui

“He has a strong personality, much like mine—we both thrive on competition and strive for victory. Compared to him, Mancini was calmer. Under a new coach, the competition among players intensifies,” Retegui noted about his coaches.

“Under the new coach, there’s more focus on contributing defensively by pressing defenders, even without the ball. But my main role is scoring goals. At Estudiantes, Gabriel Milito coached me,” he added.

“He used to say, ‘Your job is to score goals. I don’t care how, but you must score goals because it’s in your nature.’ He was right—I always aim to score goals,” Retegui concluded.

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“When I don’t score, I get frustrated because I always aim to score in every game,” Retegui admitted. “But I know it’s not possible every time. One thing is certain: we are a strong team and can do great things at the European Championship.”

Retegui highlighted Italy’s strength for Euro 2024. “Our history speaks for itself. We’re the reigning European champions and four-time world champions. No one wants to face Italy.”

Regarding his competition with Gianluca Scamacca for a starting spot, Retegui stayed focused. “I need to stay calm, grounded, and keep working hard. I’m tough on myself and always believe there’s room for improvement. Scamacca has qualities that complement other strikers well, but I don’t like comparing us.

Retegui shared who his closest friends are on the national team: “Jorginho and Donnarumma, but I talk to everyone.”

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When asked if he would have played for Argentina if Lionel Scaloni had called him up, Retegui responded, “I can’t say because he never contacted me. I thought he might, especially since I scored a lot in Argentina. But it was Mancini who called me, and without hesitation, I said yes. I got on the first plane and joined the team.”

Reflecting on his Italian identity, Retegui remarked, “I feel Italian. I’ve lived my whole life in Argentina, but here I feel at home.”

Regarding his faith and journey to success, Retegui affirmed, “Yes, I believe in God. I’ve worked very hard to get here. With the support of my parents and my sister, who have helped me grow both as a person and a footballer, I’ve reached where I am today, playing in Italy and for the national team.

“I believe that when you passionately pursue something and fight for it, you eventually achieve your dreams. Today, I am living a dream,” Retegui expressed.

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He reflected on the support he received from his family over the years. “Football is a tough world; one day you’re flying high, the next you might face setbacks. The people around you, especially your family, become crucial.”

“In Argentina, I played for four teams: Boca Juniors, the most prestigious club where I had limited playing time, Estudiantes, and later Talleres and Tigre,” he recalled. “Some experiences didn’t go as planned, and during those times, the support of my family was essential. They kept me grounded and motivated to keep pushing forward with my head held high.”

“When I arrived at Genoa, everything started well with playing and scoring goals. Then I had two knee injuries that were tough, both physically and mentally,” Retegui recalled.

“My parents came to Italy to support me during that difficult time. Their encouragement meant a lot. They kept saying, ‘Come on, Mateo, you can do it.’ I’m very thankful for their support,” he added.

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Asked about his mental resilience, Retegui said, “Football has taught me a lot about staying strong. One day you’re up, the next day you might face challenges. If you’re not mentally tough, it’s hard to keep going.”

Reflecting on his favorite club, Retegui shared, “Tigre, a club in Victoria, is special to me. Coach Diego Martinez played a crucial role in my career. He gave me confidence and changed my life.”

“My parents live near Tigre’s stadium. I used to walk there. Someday, I’d like to return—not to retire, but while I’m still strong,” he revealed.

Lastly, when asked about playing video games, Retegui responded, “No, I don’t play! I heard what coach Spalletti said, and as my father says, a coach’s words are important.”

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Reflecting on his first conversation with Coach Mancini, Retegui recalled, “I arrived at midnight, and he was waiting for me. ‘Do you know why you’re here?’ he asked. ‘To play,’ I replied. ‘To play, yes, but above all to score goals,’ he emphasized. ‘Perfect, I live for that.’ Against England and Malta, he showed confidence in me, and I rewarded him with two goals.”

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