29th of August 2020

“I want to win a trophy for Roma”

Having put pen-to-paper on a three-year contract with the Giallorossi on Tuesday, the 33-year-old - winner of 25 major trophies in his career - sat down with asroma.com to discuss his excitement for this next chapter in his career.

- Welcome to Roma! How does it feel?

“It feels really good. I am really happy to arrive at this club. I need to say thank you to everybody for this welcome: to the supporters, to the club, to the staff. I am very happy to be here.

"It is a new challenge for me, to play in Serie A, to play in a new country, and I am very happy to be here.”

- You’ve won a lot in your career. Everything, even. What are your motivations and ambitions as you come to Roma?

“Especially when you arrive at a new club you want to win again. I understand that it is difficult but that is the aim. My ambition is always really high and when I arrive here my goal has to be, when I speak with all the staff, I want to win with Roma. It’s possible to win a trophy. I understand it’s a big challenge for everyone here and for the team.”

- You are a top-class player and undoubtedly lots of clubs were keen to sign you this summer: what was it about Roma that convinced you?

“Because it is a team building up. It is a team that is growing, in a few years it can grow up a lot. For this reason I came here.

"I also spoke with Paulo [Fonseca], he’s a good coach. He spoke with me, {he explained that] it’s a good moment for me to come here and play with new teammates and chase something special. I repeat that it is difficult, but it is not impossible. There are so many good players here and that’s another reason I came here.”

- What sort of conversations did you have with Paulo Fonseca and what was discussed?

“Obviously when you arrive you have a lot of motivation and ambition to grow and improve with the team and the teammates. I spoke with Paulo about this, he said it’s a very good club, with good facilities and everything to develop in the next few years and for me this is important.

“And I wanted to thank him for the confidence he showed me, to be a player here. I am very motivated to start with the team and play in this new competition for me, Serie A. I am happy to be here and motivated to do something special here.”

- You’ve had a chance to see the city already, and now the club’s facilities too. What have your first impressions been of both?

“Obviously it’s a very nice city! Rome is an historic city in Europe and the world, for all the history, and this is great for me to be able to be in this city. But also to go out and meet the people, wishing me well and wanting the best for this club.

“I am really impressed by this city, it’s very big and very nice and I expect to be able to do my best football here. I want to enjoy it with the supporters here.”

- How excited are you to play regularly at the Stadio Olimpico – a ground where you also won the Champions League for the first time?

“Yeah, I have great memories here because I won a Champions League here at the Olimpico in Roma. So for me it is a special stadium, a special place in my career. But now I have the possibility to play for this team and because of that I’m very happy to be here.”

- Have you felt a real welcome from the fans already?

“Yes, definitely. I have to say thank you, again, because I am really motivated to be here and start with the team and play games in Serie A. I have to say thank you for this welcome. I feel comfortable here already, from the first few days and weeks, and that can only be a good thing.”

- How is your shoulder? How is the recovery going, and when might fans expect to see you back in action?

“Now it is important for me to recover well and be able to start strongly with the team. The most important thing is to take the little steps over the next few weeks. But I am in good hands here, all the physios and staff are incredible, and for me the most important thing is to take things step-by-step, so I recover well and can start strongly.”

- This is your second experience abroad. What did you learn and how do you think you improved from your time with Chelsea, and what are you expecting the challenges to be in Serie A?

“I don’t know yet, because I don’t know this league. But I grew a lot playing in the Premier League, because it’s a strong league and very competitive. And I think Serie A is probably the same, it’s very strong too. A lot of teams are in a great moment, so it’s another strong and competitive league, and it’s good for my career to play here.”

- You are joining a fairly young squad. You have a lot of experience and have done it all in football - will you be looking to offer advice and guidance to some of those younger players, if they ask you for it?

“Some of the players here have great potential. Like Nico [Nicolo Zaniolo] for example, he is a great player – a powerful player who is scoring goals. It’s very good for the team to have players like that here.

“Carles Perez is another good winger and has great potential to do well for this team. And for me, yes I am an experienced player – but I think it is good to have this sort of mix of experience and young players to compete, fight and do well on the pitch.”

- What are your personal targets then, for this season and for this next chapter of your career?

“Obviously I want to win always. I want to win a trophy for Roma. It’s a big challenge, it’s difficult but it’s not impossible. There are so many players here, top players – Dzeko, Micki, others with great experience too – and this is good to fight and compete with other teams for a trophy, whether that is in the league or a cup.

“This year we play in the Europa League but we will have a good mentality to fight for the Champions League this season. You never know. The most important thing is to go step-by-step, game-by-game, and in the end we will see if it is a good season for us.”

- The fans have been talking about your arrival for a while now, and were very concerned when you got hurt in the FA Cup final. Do you have a message for them?

“Only to say thank you – thank you for this welcome. I hope to do my best football here. I am really motivated and looking forward to starting with the team, to join my teammates and fight for our main targets.”


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