Kobe Bryant Breaks Down Italian Soccer Team's Confederation Cup Loss

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Kobe Bryant isn't wasting a minute of his offseason, this time showing up in Brazil for the Confederations Cup match between Italy and Brazil.

Bryant, who lived in Italy as a kid while his father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant showcased his talents in the Italian League for seven years following his short foray in the NBA.

That time in Italy gave Bryant a love for the country, and kept him attached to the national soccer team as well.

The game in question was the final game of pool play for both teams, Italy falling 4-2 to Brazil, but both teams continuing on into the semifinals.

Bryant gave his feelings on his team's loss afterward, in beautiful, flowing Italian nonetheless:

It was difficult for me because we (Italy) lost, but I was glad to be at the game. I liked it very much.

He visited Italy's locker room following the match, and even gave his opinion on where things went wrong:

We were speaking a little bit about the game. We were talking about the next game against Spain. What they will need to do to be ready at the start of the game. It will be very difficult; however, I think if you are prepared mentally at the beginning of the game... If they are really ready at the start and don't wait... 

Yesterday (Saturday), I think they waited a little too long and then Brazil scored. When Brazil scored, then we began to play. You can't wait at the start of the game. You have to start to play from the beginning and be ready.

Perhaps the strangest answer he gave was when asked which of his fellow NBA players closest resemble his game:

I don't know... Let me think about that... Maybe Manu Ginobili.

I've never really thought about the two in the same light, but that comparison totally make sense.

Italy's loss leads to a matchup with defending World Cup Champion Spain, so we'll have to wait and see what Bryant thinks of that one.

Along with the Italy-Brazil game, Bryant got the chance to hang out with a myriad of soccer stars from the past and present, including an exchange of jerseys with Ronaldinho.

When you can go on a goodwill mission to another country, take in a soccer game or two, and meet some sporting legends, things like ruptured Achilles tendons probably don't seem like that big a deal.

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