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Agnese Bonfantini on Her Idols, Her Goals, Her Path to Roma & More

Roma’s star forward speaks on city life, her footballing idols growing up, and where her game is headed next.

FC Internazionale v AS Roma- Women Serie A Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Roma TV’s Instagram account took the waves yesterday evening, to catch up with Roma’s star forward Agnese Bonfantini. Before football came to a halt for the 2019-20 season, Bonfatini was knocking down all sorts of personal milestones; she scored the 100th league goal in A.S. Roma Women’s youthful existence, earned a recall back to the senior Italy team, and doubled her league scoring tally from a year ago.

If there was anyone who didn’t want the momentum to come to a halt, Bonfantini would be it.

But a couple of curious details emerged from her Instagram interview that match what the comparisons Bren has been plugging for a while now; namely the parallels between her role in this Roma side with Nicolò Zaniolo and Alex Morgan for their respective sides.

Bonfantini made her debut season in Rome—signed from Inter—in the very same manner as Zaniolo, and yesterday’s revelation that Bonfantini grew up idolizing Kaka’s game (like Zaniolo) was the missing piece to that picture. Both have modeled their game on the Milan’s former Brazilian star, which explains their shared love of the #22 shirt—Kaka’s own number in his heyday.

But Bonfantini also went one further, in line with the parallels drawn on CdT for months, announcing she admired Alex Morgan’s game and would like to face the U.S. superstar on the pitch.

Bonfantini: “It’s definitely a hard time right now, but I’m lucky I have a garden where I can train at home. There are certainly people worse off than me. I wake up, I study and then I train in the afternoon where I get to stay with my family. There’s not much more you can do than that. I have a lot of fun with my brother and we spend the time trying all the online challenges.

My brother started playing football after me. After two years of me playing, it was actually me who rubbed off the passion for the game on him, even if right now he’s playing volleyball. I started playing football with my friends at school.

I started playing a six years old, thanks to my parents who never once tried to stop me. My mother was convinced I would never like it anyway, but I immediately signed up to play with my neighborhood team. My parents have always supported me, even when I played with Inter and it wasn’t easy at all, because of the distance. I trained three times a week and my mother always came with me. They have made so many sacrifices for me.

It’s a dream to be playing in Serie A now. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. We’re lucky because the movement is growing and growing.”

Bonfantini on Her Idols

Milan’s MIDFIELDRE Kaka of Brazil (R) cl... Photo credit should read MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP via Getty Images

Bonfantini: “As a kid, my idols were Kaka and El Shaarawy when they played at Milan. I’d watch them all the time when I was younger. Of the international women’s players, my favorite is Alex Morgan. She knows how to combine her femininity with her athletic talents. I think she’s an outstanding woman.”

Bonfantini on Andressa and Teammates

AS Roma v ACF Fiorentina - Women Serie A Photo by Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images

Bonfantini: “She calls me ‘kid’ because we’ve got a lot of years between us. I’m inspired by her and she’s truly a leader in this team. It’s an honor for me to be playing with a top player like her.

The dressing room is always united. I miss sharing the locker room with my teammates, but we make video calls and send each other videos and photo messages. We have fun. There are those of us who do the online challenges, those of us who cook and those of us who are giving all we can during this quarantine. Thomas, for example, who lives with me, is truly skilled at cooking.”

Bonfantini on Her Goals and Games

Bonfantini: “I have to improve in many areas, but especially my consistency during the game itself. Performing consistently both in and out of possession.

I didn’t actually realized I’d scored Roma’s 100th goal when I did, but it was beautiful when I did. I took the ball home with me, signed by all my teammates. Right now it’s here beside me.

The Roma-Sassuolo game last season was one of the best games so far. We were down to ten and we completed the comeback. That was one of the most moving games. Another game we felt a lot was Roma-Fiorentina this season, with Andressa’s penalty in the 94th minute and Caesar’s penalty save at the other end before that. It’s always great to play against [Fiorentina] because we know we have to give our all. We won the away game [in their stadium] 2-0, where Camelia saved another penalty and Serturini scored an extraordinary goal, followed by Andrine’s goal. That was also a great game.

My best goal was a backheel scored with the Italy U-19 team against Scotland (video above), but also the second goal I scored on the counter against Verona. When I see a through ball, I run. I only see the penalty box and run.”

Bonfantini On Living In Rome

AC Milan v AS Roma - Women Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Bonfantini: “When I heard Roma were interested in signing me, I immediately thought that’s where I wanted to go. The project inspired me. Everything was great from the get go. When I moved to my new home I found everything, from the keys with Roma’s Scudetto engraved on them to my kit with the number 22 on it. It was a special season.

You can’t feel out of place in Rome. There isn’t a place in the city that’s not beautiful. I can’t wait to walk around the city again. With these fans, every match is one to look forward to, and I miss celebrating with them. Seeing a fan wearing my jersey is beautiful. Each time we play at the Tre Fontane, there are two girls in the standards with a banner of me, a picture of me when I was blowing a kiss to the fans. That gives me unbelievable motivation. I never pictured finding my way into fans’ hearts, but I knew Roma fans were something different. They have a passion and warmth about them, I love them.”

Bonfantini on Her Position and Alex Morgan

USA v Netherlands - FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 - Final - Stade de Lyon Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Bonfantini: “Before every game, I put my headphones on and do a long lap around the pitch to stay at ease, because I’m always very anxious. Music relaxes me, and my favorite signer is Vasco Rossi. My favorite song is ‘Piccolo Stella’ by Ultimo. I have my playlist before the game, but there isn’t a particular song I listen to.

Sometimes I’ve felt better prepared for a game and then maybe I’ve played worse on the pitch. Against Verona, on the other hand, I was actually less focused before kick off and then I scored a hat-trick! My legs were just working by themselves, I don’t know how to explain it.

My dream is to play in the World Cup. It would be great to play against Alex Morgan. I feel better playing as a winger, I think that’s more my natural role where I give the best of myself. I’ve definitely tried playing as a center-forward but I don’t think that’s my strength. Compared to last year, I feel more self-aware, even if they tell me I should be even more aware of what I’m capable of.

I’ve improved my game so much thanks to the coach and the staff. Last year I scored four goals. This year eight goals. Next year, who knows?”