Published on : 09 October 2017

“4-time Champions”, on the eve of Albania-Italy friendly match

Prime Minister Edi Rama's greeting at the opening of the "4-time Champions" exhibition at Shkodra's "Migjeni" Theatre on the eve of Albania-Italy friendly match:

Hello to everyone!

I prefer to speak in Italian to honour our dear friends who are here, and I would like to say that I am not the only Prime Minister to be here today, but we are all together with another Prime Minister, Fatos Nano, who is also my predecessor in the party.

Good evening President!

Good evening Mr Ambassador!

Dear Mayor!

Dearest friends!

Good evening also to Igli Tare, the great technical director of the Lazio, which is also our flag in big leagues.

I don’t know if the President has been already informed on a fact. The first Albanian football team was born in this city. Mr President, do you know how it was called? Juventus!

“Juventus” was born here in Shkoder as the first team of the Albanian football in 1913. Shkoder is the “homeland of football” within our homeland, Albania, and the Mayor of this city is very proud to welcome here today the Italian national team.  

Then there is another important reason for being here today, with more emotion than usual, because our national team plays, but the national team that is in the hearts of many Albanians plays as well. In these moments I remember a slogan that Albanian fans, who have followed a friendly match with Italy, have exposed in the stadium: "Italy in the heart, Albania love". So, thank God, it is a match which, as President Tavecchio would say, has nothing to do with the qualification otherwise it wouldn’t be a very easy match, we wouldn’t have the strength to decide, if we had to scream for our victory as Albanians because we would feel very disappointed not to see our national team in Russia.

We shouldn’t joke either about the Albanian team or the Italian one because, as long as we are not there, it is you who will push forward that cause of the Albanian football fans.

There is a third reason. You must win the match with the Germans in Russia because a part of the fans here root for Germany.

Finally, I would like to thank President Duka for extending me the invitation to be here, and when I saw the 1982 cup I remembered that day because the first Italian fan I’ve met was my grandmother, and she was from this city. She had Italian roots, and when I was a little child she taught me Italian, she taught me that our blue guys, namely the Italian national team was something very important. And little by little, many other friends of mine and I grew up with this love for the Italian football which we followed through the “90th Minute” and thanks to the voices of Sandro Ciotti and Bruno Pizzul, for back then Albania was an isolated country. Every Sunday we would listen to these voices who seemed coming from Mars or from the Moon, and that victory made me think of my grandmother. It was one of the most beautiful days of her life, since she was a major fan of Italy.   

Thank you once again, and let the best win, but we will be happy if Albania wins. A loss against Albania might bring you luck, as you can later win the matches that really matter for the qualification.  

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