SOCCER boss Giovanni Trapattoni is grieving the loss of his sister, a nun whose gifts of holy water were liberally sprinkled on football pitches around the globe.
His sister, Maria – also known as Sister Romilde Trapattoni – died at 81 in the early hours of yesterday morning following a long battle with illness. She had been a nun with the Sisters of Charity order in Milan but had been ill for some time.
Trapattoni cancelled a press conference for the latest squad announcement to immediately travel to Italy.
Trapattoni cancelled a post-match press conference following Ireland's win over the Faroe Islands last year to travel to his sister's bedside after she took ill.
The soccer manager was born in Cusano Milanino, the youngest of five siblings, and his sister, Maria, had been his only remaining sibling that was still alive.
The nun eagerly followed her younger brother's career as both a soccer player and manager. She regularly sent him gifts of holy water ahead of major games – including one before the Euro finals in Poland in June.
Trapattoni described the gift as not for luck but to protect against bad things happening to his players on the pitch.
At the World Cup in Japan and Korea in 2002, the then manager of the Italian side was spotted sprinkling holy water from his sister on his squad's training grounds.