Now pre-season has well and truly kicked off at Trigoria, there are so many features coming out of Roma’s gates. The club has already had personal interview spots with Kostas Manolas recapped on FI here, Patrik Schick covered on CdT here, Ante Coric covered on CdT here, with El Shaarawy, EDF and Kevin Strootman all having been interviewed and coming soon.
This past Tuesday morning, it was Diego Perotti’s turn. Perotti has closed out every training session by practicing penalties with Greco and Fuzato. He’s actually been wildly erratic with them, while Greco must be thinking that if saving Perotti pens was a gateway to a professional career, he’d be benching Alisson by now - such is the young Italian keeper’s stellar form in front of Diego from 12 yards so far.
Nevertheless, El Monito has a more long-lasting disappointment to put behind him going into the new season, as he touched on below.
This year someone will be missing seeing as there is no Bruno Peres... he wasn’t bad at taking penalties!
Perotti: “No, no... I’m sorry he left. But that’s football.”
After so many ritiri and so many season kick-offs, what does it mean to you to start yet another new season? Have your feelings towards it changed over the years?
Perotti: “The feeling of starting the season is always the same. Especially during a World Cup year when the holidays are longer, you miss playing. When the season ends, you want to rest but then two, three weeks go by... even if you train by yourself it’s not the same. You’re missing something a little. I basically had no holidays seeing as I had another son. I stayed here in Rome. Returning to pre-season is always nice. My wife told me: Now take a holiday! My elder son is very jealous, he doesn’t get to sleep as much as usual and it was almost the worst for him.”
It’s a different kind of pre-season to last year. There are ten new players, but the coach remains the same. Do you all feel more prepared and in a better position?
Perotti: “Yes for sure, after a year of working together a player knows what the coach wants, but starting from the top all together again is very important. This is the most important time of the season to take on every detail of what the coach wants. This time of the year is fundamental.”
Pastore is now at Roma and the club has added quality to that part of the pitch...
Perotti: “Yes. With Radja Nainggolan leaving there was a need to fill that space and we did it very well. Yesterday we saw the first training session with all the new guys, and it shows that they all have something, they will help us a lot.”
On the first day, there were already arguments...
Perotti: “It’s Manolas and Strootman’s fault. They’re always fighting between themselves and with other teammates. They mess around!”
What kind of league will it be this year? Do you feel yourselves ahead for already having played a year under Di Francesco? Do you start off with more awareness?
Perotti: “The fact we reached a Champions League semi-final shows what we’re capable of doing, it wasn’t by chance. We would have accepted just getting past the group stage, but then we beat Shakhtar, we beat Barcelona, it wasn’t by chance. We have to start from there and in the league, we can’t lose those points. If we find the balance to play the big matches against the big sides and not lose those matches against sides that seem more simple to beat from the start... we have to start from there, we have to prepare ourselves with a good ritiro. Doing it here at Trigoria is better, as here we have everything. They did up the bedrooms beautifully. The gym, the recovery zone... better than here doesn’t exist for anyone. We have to train hard. A long season is coming just like the last, and we have to be ready.”
Even when the new guys looked at Trigoria, they looked open-mouthed...
Perotti: “Yes because everything here is new, they only just finished doing the bedrooms. The gym was already like this before, but now there are the new dressing rooms. I really can’t say anything, we have to train and not look to find excuses because there really aren’t any.”
The World Cup?
Perotti: “It was one of the worst feelings of my life. I was left out of the squad twice, especially when Lanzini got injured. I really had a feeling I was going to the World Cup. Being left out of the World Cup was a hard blow. When they got knocked out, I was sorry especially for Fazio. The World Cup is every four years, and I’ll be 30 years old in 20 days time. I’m aware of what i means to be 33-34 years old. If I didn’t make it by now... I see it as unlikely. There are moments that pass you by in life and maybe they never come back around again. But football is like this. In Argentina there are a lot of players and it’s never easy.”
It’s important for you all to start together from the very start...
Perotti: “Yes. Even if I more or less know what the coach wants, it’s still not the same if you arrive to pre-season 20 days late. Even just for your own preparation. I train at home, but it’s not the same when you’re a little tired and you have no one behind you to push you. It’s important to be here, staying with them, doing pre-season in our home here. It’s the time to work, run and take the heat, but we all do it knowing we can have a beautiful year ahead.”