The final goodbye will take place this morning at the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina on Rome's Aventine Hill. Pietro Mennea leaves this world and people the world over have paid homage to him in the last few days.
On 4 May 2010, as the Treble was starting to take shape, Inter trained at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome ahead of the Coppa Italia final. The former athletics champion, who wrote many important pages of Italian sports history, came along watch the team training. He liked Inter, for their sporting and morale integrity. He liked José Mourinho's work ethic.But we prefer to let Mennea do his own talking so we've published the interview he gave to Inter Channel that morning. A calm, intelligent, witty man. Of the utmost integrity.
He said of a meeting he had with a group of youngsters: "What I can tell you is that I would exchange everything I have, everything I've won, for what you've got now. They stared at me wide-eyed and replied, 'Everything?' Yes, everything to be your age. Talent needs to be nurtured properly. I wasn't predestined but then I managed to stay at the very top for ages."
Listening to Mennea's words again reminds us of how much we'll miss him.