Roma forward Gervinho remains an important part of coach Rudi Garcia’s plans ahead of the 2015-16 Serie A season, despite almost leaving the club.
Gervinho was on the verge of joining Al-Jazira in the United Arab Emirates until the transfer collapsed due to the Ivory Coast international’s excessive demands.
The former Arsenal man reportedly requested a helicopter and a private beach as part of his deal to move to Abu Dhabi.
Gervinho has since returned to pre-season training with Roma and starred as the Italian giants defeated Real Madrid 7-6 on penalties after the International Champions Cup contest ended goalless at the end of regulation time in Melbourne on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters post-match, Garcia said: “He was to return on July 13. He came back before, to the training camp in Pinzolo, so that shows his motivation.
“He’s had 18 months playing at the highest level for Ivory Coast, with the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations.
“He remains a top-class striker, and is important for us.”
Garcia also said veteran full-backs Maicon and Ashley Cole, who were both handed starting berths in front of over 80,000 fans at the MCG, still had roles to play for Roma.
Injuries limited Brazilian Maicon, 33, to 14 league appearances last term, while former England international Cole, 34, managed just 11 matches in his first season in Serie A.
“They’re two different cases,” Garcia added.
“They’re two great champions, with great CVs. Maicon was injured for a long time, but seems to be getting better. He’s been training well.
“I liked Ashley in his role [today], we found the great Ashley Cole we saw in Manchester [against City] last year.
“The ball is in his court, if he maintains this level then he’ll go back to being a top player, and that would be a great thing.”
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