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Gianluigi Donnarumma on retaining the trophy at EURO 2024, the mood in the Italy squad and group rivals Spain – interview

"We are all here now to defend our title," says Italy captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Player of the Tournament at EURO 2020.

Donnarumma: 'We are trying to replicate EURO 2020 feeling'

Player of the Tournament at UEFA EURO 2020, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma knows better than most what it takes to win this tournament. The Paris Saint-Germain No1 saved two penalties in the shoot-out as the Azzurri defeated England in the Wembley showpiece, and he is determined to help his side retain the trophy at EURO 2024 in Germany.

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Now proudly wearing the captain's armband, the 25-year-old believes the atmosphere in the current Italy squad can once again propel them to success. But although he counts the holders among the favourites, he is wary of the tough competition they face in Group B, not least old rivals Spain and their first opponents on 15 June, Albania.

On his pre-tournament mood

Firstly, I'm happy to be here and to represent Italy. We will undoubtedly be ready for this big event, which is a unique competition, and I was lucky to win the last EURO. We are all here now to defend our title and try to do our best to get to the final.

On emerging as the penalty shoot-out hero in the EURO 2020 final

Sometimes I rewatch it, and I still get emotional. Those kinds of emotions can never be forgotten in our lives. We really made history, so we are proud to have done something like that and to still represent this country.

EURO 2020 final highlights: Italy 1-1 England (3-2 pens)

On the added responsibility of being captain

I definitely feel more responsibility, but some of the other guys here already have that experience and could be captains too. We are all leaders in this team, and some of us need to help some of the guys who may be just starting out to grow. But they help us too. Then, of course, wearing the captain's armband as an Italian player – representing the country wearing the armband – is an indescribable feeling.

On the atmosphere within the squad

Everyone has a different personality. Undoubtedly, the atmosphere was special three years ago, and that's what we're trying to recreate now. But they are all amazing guys now, so there is no fear of not being able to replicate that. We are a great group, and we gel together well. That will definitely be important, like it was at the last EURO.

Watch great Italy EURO goals

On opening Group B opponents Albania

Albania are a great team with interesting young players who have experience. Every match is different, so we'll have to approach it in the best way possible and try to win every game. We will have to go game by game but, right now, we are only thinking about doing well against Albania. After that, we'll see.

On the prospect of tackling Spain

They are a hard team to face. They're a great team with internationally experienced players used to competitions like this. But the teams that will face us will certainly be reluctant to play against Italy because we have a great history and a great team too. They will need to prepare well for the matches because it will be hard to face us.

Spain vs Italy at EURO down the years

On his favourites for the trophy

Some teams are undoubtedly very strong, like France and England, but we can have a say too. I think there are no favourites in a competition like this. There is everything to play for, so we will go there to have a say and get to the final.

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