Lirola on improving at Fiorentina, his idols, Chiesa and Boateng

Following the presentations of Milan Badelj and Kevin-Prince Boateng, on Wednesday it was Pol Lirola’s turn to be unveiled as a Viola player after he completed his move from Sassuolo last week.

Giancarlo Antognoni introduced the Spaniard: “It is my pleasure today to introduce Pol Lirola – an out-and-out right-back at last. He’s a modern player who likes to get forward and he’s very solid defensively too.

“He started out at Espanyol and was brought to Italy by Juventus, where he played at Primavera level, and then he moved to Sassuolo, where he’s done very well over the last three years. He’s already accumulated 81 appearances in Serie A and he’s not yet 22 – which shows you how well he’s trained and performed. He’s just won the European U21 Championship with Spain too.

“Fiorentina were very interested in him and it wasn’t easy to convince Sassuolo but in the end we managed it.”

Pol Lirola then took questions from the media.

Which areas of your game do you think you still need to improve?

“You never stop improving. I’m young and I’m keen to improve a lot. Last season was my best year in terms of assists as I got seven, and this year I want to get even more.”

Who was your childhood idol?

“Philipp Lahm and Dani Alves.”

You played in Juventus’ academy. Do you regret not staying there?

“I don’t have any regrets. At the time there were world-class players ahead of me and moving to Sassuolo was definitely the right move as I was able to play regularly and cut my teeth in Serie A.”

Have you spoken to any of the Spanish players who have done well at Fiorentina in recent years?

“No, I haven’t spoken to any of them but I hope to make my mark in Florence as players like Borja Valero and Joaquin did before me.”

How did this move to Fiorentina come about? Were there other clubs interested in you?

“As soon as the Euros finished this summer my agent told me Fiorentina really wanted me. I spoke to Prade and I realised just how much they wanted to bring me here so I decided it was the right choice for me.”

Have you spoken to President Commisso and Joe Barone?

“I met Joe Barone when I came here and I spoke to the president on the phone when we were in Montecatini and he welcomed me to the club.”

You’ve had a few training sessions with your new team-mates now. Who have you been most impressed by?

“Federico [Chiesa]. I knew him already and he’s an exceptional player but in training you can see that he’s a real force of nature.”

The Fiorentina right-back role has been somewhat ‘cursed’ lately. The club haven’t had a true right-back for years.

“Yes, I’ve been told they haven’t had an out-an-out right back here for a while. It gives me extra responsibility but it also makes me proud because Fiorentina opted for me. I can’t wait to start repaying the club for their faith in me.”

What convinced you to join this new project at Fiorentina?

“Sassuolo finished above Fiorentina last season but Fiorentina have a long history and one bad season doesn’t mean anything. Speaking to Prade I understood that the club want to build a new team from the foundation that can develop into a great team and aim for the top targets.”

Has Vincenzo Montella told you how he wants you to play?

“We haven’t spoken about that yet. I’ve only been training with my new team-mates for a few days. At the moment the main aim is to reach peak fitness so that we’re ready for our first match against Napoli on the 24th.”

Is getting into the senior Spain squad a target of yours?

“First I have to be successful with Fiorentina, then we’ll see what happens.”

What can a player like Kevin-Prince Boateng bring to Fiorentina?

“He’s an excellent player and very intelligent too. I got to know him well at Sassuolo. He can play in lots of positions and he opens up space for others. I think he’ll be very useful to the Fiorentina cause and he can be a big success here.”

Antognoni was asked to comment on Boateng’s decision to wear the No.10 Viola shirt, which the 1982 World Cup winner famously wore himself.

“It’s the right choice. Boateng has the ability and character needed to wear the No.10 shirt. He’s won a lot in his career too so I think he’s the best person for it.”

Published: Wed, 07 Aug 2019 17:00:00 +0200

Source: Fiorentina Official website