CASCIANA TERME (PISA) - Andrea Ranocchia picked up the Armando Picchi prize this afternoon after being named 'Best Italian Under-23 Defender in Serie A 2010/11'. It was the very first edition of the award named after the captain of the Great Inter team, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of his death (27 May 1971). The philosophy behind the award - established by the Municipality of Casciana Terme with the support of the FIGC (Italian F.A.), the Italian Coaches' Association, the Italian Footballers' Association and the Province of Pisa - is to recognise each season the achievements of defenders who have excelled in terms of technical ability, fair play and personality – characteristics that distinguished Picchi during his career. Picchi was a friend of many generations of people from Casciana Terme and a great enthusiast of the Casciana Spa.After having lunch with the Inter Club Armando Picchi of Casciana Terme, Ranocchia said: "I would like to dedicate this award to my family, to my girlfriend and to all the people who are supportive to me. I've only read a bit and seen a few video clips of Armando Picchi, but when I joined Inter I realised that our club has a rich history, and I have a lot of respect for that. We younger players should know about the champions who have made history. I've talked about him with Zanetti, who recently wore a captain's armband in memory of this unforgettable Nerazzurri champion: everybody remembers Picchi as someone to look up to, on the pitch and off it. He's one of the threads running through the fabric of our club and of Italian football."
The Nerazzurri defender went on to speak about matters closer at hand: "If we were to win the Coppa Italia, it would be three trophies for the season - a positive year. On a personal level, I joined after a nasty injury, I got fit again and since then I've played a lot. I didn't expect to get so much playing time after recovering from my injury, so I'm delighted with how things have gone. This season I've made my full international debut, come to Inter... everything has been great. And I think, after this six-month settling in period, next year will be even better, for me and for Inter. I need to improve the mental side of my game, my consistency and also my quality, but I'm happy."
There was a word for Scudetto winners AC Milan: "Milan deserved to win the league - the team that wins it always deserves to - but we're ready to win the title back next year. Inter want to win everything: we want to make up for this season in the league and do better in the Champions League. We'll be really up for it."
AC Milan's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva was the winner in the 'Best Overall Defender in Serie A 2010/11' category. The two players were chosen by a panel made up of editors from Corriere dello Sport - Stadio, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport, La Nazione and Il Tirreno, and the sports news editors of La7, Mediaset, Rai and Sky Italia.