Saturday, 6 January 2007

Azzurri heroes to be honoured

Italy's World Cup winning squad will be awarded with the Cavaliere Ufficiale title - one of the country's highest public honours - by the President of the Republic on Monday.

The 23-man squad that battled against the odds to lift the 2006 trophy in Germany will be handed this recognition in a ceremony at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.

“It has been decided to honour them with the title Cavaliere Ufficiale,” explained FIGC representative Gigi Riva. “As a few members were already Cavalieri, they’ll be automatically promoted to Ufficiale. Marcello Lippi and Federation chief Giancarlo Abete will become Commendatore.”

In the absence of a royal family, Italy’s highest honours are handed out by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, who was present in Berlin for the Final on July 9.

The system is based on the French Legion d’honneur and the Commendatore is the third highest honour that can be bestowed.

It consists of a silver and red cross hung from a green ribbon around the neck. The players receive the Cavaliere Ufficiale cross, which hangs from the left side of the chest.

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