It's been a while since I've heard a player come out and be honest about his move to a particular club. More often than not players sugar coat and say things only to try and score extra points with the fans, but Federico is certainly not that player.
Federico Balzaretti was today introduced by Walter Sabatini to the media following Wednesday's practice session. You can listen to what Sabatini & Balzaretti had to say or you can head after the jump and read the excerpts from today's presser.
Sabatini on Federico
I had never seen everyone at the club – the coach, the players – all agree on something, as happened with Balzaretti joining Roma. Federico is both a very good footballer and a great human being. It was a tricky deal to bring him to the football club, but the technical ability in the side has improved immeasurably following his arrival. He's constructed his career on his own, and has made tough choices over his time as a professional. He's played in every division and has made some very brave decisions. He moved from Juventus to Fiorentina and from there to Palermo, because he wanted to play. He's here now and we're pleased to have him. As I've said, first and foremost for his qualities as a person, then for his technical ability
Why did you choose AS ROMA ?
I've come to Rome at the right time in my career. I'm mature and ready for it, and that's also thanks to my experience at the Euros. I've come in just as the club have big ambitions for the future. So I hope we can be successful.
In the days leading up to my move I saw there was a lot of confusion in the media. From my perspective, however, things have always been very clear. When I found out about the possibility of coming here, I spoke to my family and immediately decided that Roma was the only place I could leave Palermo for. You can even ask Zamparini, because I told him that if I ever left it would only be to go to Roma. Obviously my family had a big say in my decision. The capital is the perfect place for my girls to grow up. My wife works in Paris and that's well connected to Rome, and she also has good work opportunities here. I know the director of football, Sabatini, very well. I know how he works and we're on the same wavelength, as we see things in the same way. We have the same goals and a good work ethic. As I've said, Roma was the only option for me. In terms of the club, the squad and their ambition, they're one of the best around at the moment.
Does coming to Rome in general mean you could also have played for Lazio?
No, I've only ever thought of Rome as AS Roma.
Did you move here because Roma are not in Europe and so you'd have more time off?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, I hope this is the first and last year that we don't play in Europe.
Do you think Roma have the potential to do well ?
Roma have a lot of potential in the squad and a very passionate fanbase. I see a lot of enthusiasm for the club. The club has invested a great deal over the last few years, they've made good signings.
What's the target for this season?
It's too early to say. I've only just got here. We've got the foundations, now we need to work hard. Our primary aim is enjoy our football and to entertain the people who to come to watch us play.
How long will it take you to settle in?
Having been a professional footballer for many years now, many of us already know each other. So from that perspective there's no issue with settling in. Even in terms of the way we play, I can't foresee many problems with Zeman, because we see the game in a very similar way. So with this in mind, I'm at an advantage, but we now all need to improve. We can only pick up good results by working hard.
Are you comfortable playing on the right side?
Yes, I did it recently for Italy, but I also played there for Varese at the start of my career, and then in Turin, both at Juve and Torino. I've got no problem playing on the right.
Did you have the chance to go to PSG?
There was an opportunity to go there, but last year, although I decided to stay at Palermo and it fell through. It was a flattering offer but it's now in the past.
Do you like to attack ?
The way I play means I often get forward and put crosses in, it just comes naturally. Of course I like to go on the overlap. It's more fun playing like that. My ability going forward is my trademark and I think it is in line with Zeman's idea for the team. But going forward doesn't mean I don't know how to defend. Either way, people say attack is the best form of defence, right? And I think there's some truth in that. The coach knows what he's doing and I think he'll have us players enjoying ourselves on the pitch, and the fans in the stands too.
Are you happy with how your career has shaped up ?
I don't think I'm just being discovered now. I think I've had a good career. I don't regret any of the choices I've made, as they've got me to the level I'm at today. If I've come here, one of Italy's biggest clubs, at the age of 30, it's a reward for what I've done in the past. This gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Can AS Roma be competitive ?
We're a team which can compete at the top level. We have one of the best squads in Italy on paper, now we need to prove it on the pitch. We need to do what the coach asks us to and find the right balance. But, as I've said, we can get close to the top sides, then we'll see from our results if and to what extent we've been successful. We need to be able to cope with the tough times and defeats, which are inevitable, but we'll only be successful if we can become stronger as a team in this regard.
What do you think of Zeman and his training methods ?
The coach always makes time for you as a person, he's got good manners and clear ideas. He knows what to ask of his players. I've got a very positive opinion of him. He doesn't say a lot, but often you don't need to.
Zeman's training sessions are very hard, but we know that his sides have always been very strong on the pitch and so this hard work is first and foremost for ourselves. This is how you train fatigue on a mental level. This is important because perhaps after 85 minutes you make the burst which wins the game. So the methods are right, but just like everyone else, I need to get used to them. Perhaps we're not at the top of our game at this moment in time, but we will be when we need to.
What do you think about Piris & Dodo ?
Yesterday he (Piris) kept beating me in the shuttle runs! He's made a very good impression on me. He's a different type of player to me. He's stocky and plays the game in a different way to me. He's a good player, I've been impressed by him and we're rooming together. He's trying to learn the language as quickly as possible. There's a very good mood in the camp. We're working well and you can tell we're a serious bunch. It's like we've been together for a long time. This is great and it's important.
Everyone's only had good things to say about him (Dodo) and I'm waiting to see him at his best. As I'm a bit older than he is, I will try to give him some advice on Italian football, so he can become one of the best full-backs in Serie A.