Bearzot Award to Nicola Pietrangeli: standing ovation and emotion

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The blue tennis legend received the special lifetime achievement award: he is the first non-football-related athlete to receive it

A long and emotional standing ovation welcomed Nicola Pietrangeli to the stage of the Sala dei Baroni at the Maschio Angioino in Naples. During the ‘Enzo Bearzot Award’ ceremony, which in this 2023 went to Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti, the Italian tennis legend was awarded the Special Lifetime Achievement Award. For the first time in its history the ‘Bearzot Prize’ crosses the boundaries of its sport and is awarded to an athlete not directly linked to the world of soccer.

“A football award for the first time to an athlete from another sport: another of my records!” said Pietrangeli visibly moved.

His countless triumphs, above all two editions of Roland Garros and the Internazionali d’Italia, the fundamental role he played in the triumphant 1976 edition of the Davis Cup, his past as a soccer player, and his ability to win the hearts of soccer fans; these were the reasons that led the jury to choose Nicola Pietrangeli for the prestigious award.

“The greatest Italian tennis player ever also arrives at the threshold of 90 years old with the satisfaction of having won as a coach — or as they used to say ‘captain not player’ — his world championship, bringing to Italy despite controversy and headwinds the famous Davis Cup of 1976,” the motivation reads. A man of many talents, Pietrangeli always intertwined his life with the world of soccer, training for years and with good results with Lazio and Roma.”

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