Manuel Locatelli grabbed the headlines in Italy's 3-0 win over Switzerland in a Group A European Championship game at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Wednesday.
Locatelli scored twice in each half to help Italy become the first team to progess into the round of 16 stage of the competition.
When he was substituted in the 86th minute, he left the pitch to a standing ovation from the home crowd.
The 23-year-old midfielder came up through the ranks at AC Milan and made his first team debut in the 2015-16 season before was sent out on loan to Sassuolo. He completed a permanent switch in 2018 citing a lack of faith from his former parent club.
Locatelli told Gazetta dello Sport , "I wasn't abandoned but it's fair to say that they didn't trust me anymore. I knew Sassuolo was the right choice. I feel important here even if AC Milan was my life for 10 years."
He has been linked with a move to Juventus by the Italian media recently after another impressive campaign with his club, which earned the former Milan playmaker a call-up to Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad for the Euros.
Locatelli, who made his European Championships debut against Turkey last week, said he is fulfilling his childhood dream with Italy. "Representing Italy and the Italian people at the Euros is a beautiful responsibility that everyone wants to have. It is something to tell our children about,” Locatelli told a news conference.
"For me it is a dream that I have had since I was a child. I used to watch these competitions on a big screen with my friends."
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