MILAN – The Nerazzurri wideman spoke to BeIN Sport and Sport Mediaset following the Gentleman Awards.
Here’s what he had to say:
How important is this award to you?
"This is a very important award for me, because it’s the first I’ve received in the three years I’ve been in Italy. I’d like to thank my family and the fans who believe in the way I play. But what matters now is finishing the season well, getting into the Europa League and trying to do better next year."
How would you assess your own season?
"I think it’s gone well this year personally, it’s been a big season for me but also for Inter because we didn’t qualify for Europe last season, whereas this term we’re fighting until the end. The fans would definitely be happy if we get back into Europe."
What will Inter be like next season?
"An Inter side that needs to compete for the title and qualify for the Champions League. That’s the sort of season Inter need to have. It’s a big club that always needs to compete at the top end of the table: that’s what we’ll fight for next season."
Are you disappointed you didn’t make the Brazil World Cup squad?
"No, I’m not sad, in fact I’m delighted for all the guys who did get called up like Maicon and Hernanes, who now plays for Inter. I know they were hard calls for Scolari to make because there are so many good players in every position. I hope Brazil can do well in the World Cup, because we’re playing at home in front of lots of supporters. Let’s hope we win it."
What did Mazzarri and the players say after the disappointing derby performance?
"I’m sorry but I can’t tell you what was said because it has to remain in the dressing room. These are things that need to make you more of a team, and we know everyone’s gutted at the moment about having lost a hugely important derby. It’s not a good period for us, but we need to stay together and wait for this last home game to Lazio that we have to win to get closer to the Europa League."
Have you thought about why the match was so tough for Inter particularly from a psychological perspective?
"Games like that happen, sometimes you play badly, and that was the case in the derby. Just as they lost the first game. It’s not an excuse, but we know that our team can give more than we did in the last match against AC Milan. We hope to play good football against Lazio on Saturday and pick up three huge points for us."
Are you emotional about Zanetti’s last home game?
"Definitely, he’s a really important person not just for us but for the football world in general. He’s a player who’s won everything there is to win, who has everyone’s respect and he’s our captain. But, as he said, the important thing at this moment in time is just thinking about Lazio and winning the game. Then we can party with him afterwards."
Are you not disappointed that superstars like Kakà and Ronaldinho won’t be at the World Cup with Brazil?
"Of course it’s a shame, but that’s football. You can never know the way it’s going to go. Other big players will definitely come in like Neymar, Lucas and others who are shining in Brazil and will also shine in Europe."