Monday, August 21, 2017

This is my home – Pellegrini delighted by Roma return

SoccerNews in Serie A 3 Aug 2017

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Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini says returning to the Serie A club is like coming home as he targets a place in Italy’s World Cup squad.

Pellegrini agreed a five-year deal at Stadio Olimpico after spending two years at Sassuolo, where he played for the new Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

Although Serie A champions Juventus and big-spending AC Milan had been linked with the 21-year-old, Pellegrini believes Roma is the right club for the next stage in his development.

“I left two years ago because I needed to develop and mature and it’s because of that experience that I’m ready now,” he told reporters on Thursday. “My time at Sassuolo made me realise what football and life is all about.

“I met lots of people who helped me, including on a personal level. It’s never easy to leave home at 18 after spending 10 years at one club. I want to thank everyone at Sassuolo for that, from the president right through to the fans.

“I grew up here and I see this as my home. I am ready for that. I’m absolutely delighted to be back home at such a big club. I think that all parties want to move forward together. 

“The coach and all the staff are exactly the same and the training is just like it was at Sassuolo. I’m happy about that. People often say that it’s tough to deal with certain situations, but this best thing is to be yourself.”

Having featured for Italy at the European Under-21 Championship, Pellegrini is now targeting a place in the Azzurri’s World Cup squad for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

“It’s definitely an aim. I’ll have to see how much playing time I can get,” he said. “We have a strong midfield here, but that doesn’t worry me because I can learn a lot and draw lessons from top players. I hope to seize this chance.”

Roma’s new sporting director Monchi confirmed signing Pellegrini was one of his top targets in the transfer market, with Roma paying €10million to buy the midfielder from Sassuolo.

“One of my objectives when I joined Roma was to bring Lorenzo Pellegrini home,” said Monchi. “I’m really pleased to be here with him now. We’ve signed one of the best prospects in Italian football for now and the future.

“At Sassuolo he matured and developed in terms of technique, tactics and fitness. I’m sure he’ll be able to make a big contribution alongside his midfield team-mates, because he excels in all those areas.”

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