Serie A TIM

WIJNALDUM: I'M STILL AMAZED BY THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE OLIMPICO

On Tuesday afternoon Georginio Wijnaldum was presented to the assembled media for the first time since joining the club.

After making his first appearance in Roma colours during Sunday's friendly win over Shakhtar Donetsk, Wijnaldum joined General Manager Tiago Pinto to take questions from journalists at Trigoria.

As usual, Pinto opened proceedings with a few words about the club's latest signing.

"I think that, contrary to what I have said in other press conferences, this was a long negotiation," he said.

"I don't like long negotiations, but I think throughout it there was always the demonstration - both on our part and on Gini's - of how much we wanted to get this deal done. And that has been the common thread throughout our business this summer; every player has shown how much they wanted to join the club.

"When a player of his ability, with the things he has achieved, pushes and fights to come here, that shows that our project is gaining credibility.

"I have to say that I am quite tired right now but I am absolutely delighted to have brought Gini here. Now it's time for him to stay calm, to train well, to make himself availbale to the boss and, above all, to now answer your questions. Perhaps some of them will be tougher than playing is for him!"

How do you feel? You didn’t play as much as you wanted last season, you haven’t played much in pre-season - are you ready to start on Sunday?

“What you say is right. It is not the pre season I am used to having. But I didn’t do nothing, I trained with the group at Paris Saint-Germain. After training I also did individual work with the physios there. But, yeah, mentally I can play but we always have to see how things go during the week, and how I recover physically. So it is difficult to say if I can start. For myself I think I can but we also have to talk with the physios about it and in the end the manager will make the decision about whether I play or not.

Welcome Gini. I just want to ask you, in the past Jurgen Klopp has said you are the perfect central midfielder. What do you say to that?

“Thank you, first of all, for the welcome. Well, it’s always difficult to say what the perfect midfielder is. I think at Liverpool my style fit well with the style of play at Liverpool, so maybe for Liverpool I was. But I can understand that for other teams it will be difficult, or not be the perfect midfielder, because they play a different type of football and another system. So I think everyone will have a different opinion of what the perfect midfielder is, but if a manager like Jurgen Klopp says that about you then you will of course will be really happy and flattered.

“But yes, the perfect midfielder for one team will not necessarily be the perfect midfielder for another. I hope, and I will do everything, to be the perfect midfielder for Roma.”

The general manager said you really wanted to come to Roma. Why is that? And do you think Serie A is below the level of other top leagues?

“First of all, I wanted to come because of the effort the club put in to sign me as a player. Also, I spoke with Mo Salah and Kevin Strootman about Roma, about the club and the city, and I only heard good stories about it. I even spoke with Achraf Hakimi about it, even though he played at Inter Milan, he said it was a beautiful club and a beautiful place and I would be happy here. So that convinced me a lot.

“I know the club Roma, we played them twice when I was at Liverpool, and the atmosphere at the Olimpico was amazing – so I knew that I would be playing for a club with a great atmosphere and beautiful supporters. But that was basically the only thing I knew, so I asked for some advice to Mo and Strootman and they all had good stories. But I think the thing that convinced me the most was the amount of effort the club, through Mr. Pinto and the manager, put in to sign me. At that moment I felt really wanted and appreciated by the club and that helped me make the decision I made.

“On Serie A, It is difficult to say if the league is a step behind because I never played in it before. I will have to see. I have now played in several leagues and, in my opinion, up until now the Premier League is the most competitive I have played in. But to give my opinion on Serie A, first I need to play in it. Then I will be able to give my opinion. So to say if it is a step behind the best leagues in the world, it is difficult to say right now.”

(Photo asroma.com)

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