EURO 2024: How a love triangle nearly separated Italian national team's dressing room

EURO 2024: How a love triangle nearly separated Italian national team's dressing room

Eric Munene 08:00 - 26.06.2024

One woman almost cost Italy its team chemistry

This Italian "Love is not without bitterness", phrase perfectly encapsulates the tumultuous saga that recently unfolded within Italy’s national football team.

According to the Daily Mail, three individuals- a love triangle between two Italian players and an Instagram influencer almost brought down the team's chemistry.

The key players in this drama? Lazio winger Mattia Zaccagni, his teammate Nicolo Zaniolo, and the Instagram influencer who linked them, Chiara Nasti.

A Star is Born

Mattia Zaccagni made international headlines with his stunning 98th-minute goal against Croatia, propelling Italy into the last-16 of Euro 2024. Prior to this, Zaccagni was a name known mainly within Italy, but his critical strike has marked him as a potential hero for the Azzurri.

A Rocky Introduction

Zaccagni’s rise to prominence with the national team in 2022 was clouded by personal controversy.

His relationship with Chiara Nasti, an Instagram model and former girlfriend of fellow Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo, threatened to split the team.

Zaniolo, a more seasoned player and a loanee at Aston Villa from Galatasaray last season, was left out of Italy's Euro 2024 squad amid rumors of tension between the two men.

Love and Rivalry

Nasti and Zaniolo ended their relationship in April 2021. Shortly afterward, she began dating Zaccagni.

The couple welcomed their son, Thiago, in 2022 and married in June 2023. However, the crossover of partners was anything but serene.

The situation escalated in May 2022 when Roma fans, rivals to Zaccagni’s Lazio, mocked the winger by chanting "Zaccagni's son is Zaniolo's" after Roma’s Europa Conference League victory.

Zaniolo, who scored the winning goal in the final, was seen laughing along with the chants.

Nasti, infuriated by the mockery, responded by turning off comments on her social media and lashing out at Zaniolo with a disparaging comment about his masculinity, which she later removed amid backlash.

Professionalism Prevails

Despite the drama, both players managed to maintain professionalism on the pitch. Zaniolo and Zaccagni shared the field during Italy’s 2-1 win over Ukraine in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Yet, Zaniolo’s exclusion from the current Euro squad led to speculation that personal issues influenced the decision, although his lackluster performance at Aston Villa last season likely played a role.

Zaniolo has since rekindled his relationship with Italian model Sara Scaperrotta, the mother of his son Tommaso.

Meanwhile, Zaccagni continues to rise in prominence, celebrated for his on-field heroics and his relationship with Nasti.

Moving Forward

Italy’s manager, Luciano Spalletti, has navigated the team through this period of off-field drama with skill, focusing on the players’ performance rather than personal lives.

As Zaccagni basks in newfound fame, Zaniolo watches from the sidelines, having moved on from the turbulence that once threatened to disrupt the team.

This love triangle serves as a reminder of the potent mix of passion and conflict that can arise in football, proving that even the beautiful game is not immune to the complexities of human relationships.