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There is clearly something in the genes when it comes to Italy Under-21 forward Manolo Gabbiadini. Scorer of two goals already at this UEFA European U21 Championship, he is not the only member of his family treading the continental stage this summer as his big sister, Melania, is in the Italy side preparing for next month's UEFA Women's EURO.
Melania is the captain of ASD CF Bardolino Verona and a star player in the Italy team – and somebody whose success he has started to emulate. "She has been very important for me," he tells UEFA.com in an interview at Italy's sea-front hotel in Herzliya. "She is like me, very quiet, and she doesn't give me much advice, because she knows that I have the right attitude and approach to make it by myself.
"I have a great relationship with my sister, as I also have with my parents and my other sister, of course," he adds. "We are a very united family and I am very thankful for that."
If Gabbiadini says he would like some of his sister's "speed and intelligence", he has not done too badly with his own attributes. The Calcinate-born 21-year-old is one of the brightest talents in Devis Mangia's team; indeed with 11 goals for the Azzurrini, only Alberto Gilardino and Andrea Pirlo have scored more.
Gabbiadini made his debut with the senior Italy side last August against England, but he stresses he is keeping his feet on the ground. "I'm only 21 so if I think I've already made it then I've done everything wrong," says a youngster who looks and learns from players like Diego Milito, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Edinson Cavani. "The most important thing is to do well with the team, and to win. If I manage to score more goals, then that's good, but if not then no problem."
He arrived at these finals on the back of an impressive campaign on loan at Bologna FC from Juventus, hitting six goals in 30 Serie A outings. Furthermore, having scored six times in qualifying for Israel, he has now added two goals against Israel to that tally.
So far it has been "an indescribable experience" here, but he wants more – namely a sixth U21 crown for his country, which would be "something fantastic. We have been working on this EURO project for two years, so we have come here with a lot of belief, and we want to do well." At this rate, big sister Melania will have plenty to live up to in Sweden next month.
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