Ranocchia: “Reach Europe to build and improve”

APPIANO GENTILE – Andrea Ranocchia spoke to Matteo Barzaghi of Sky Sport 24. He discussed the transfer market, his and Inter’s goals, as well as his hopes for the national team. Read what he had to say in full here on inter.it.

How have things been going of late?
"It’s been very positive from a personal perspective. I’m fit and I hope to keep playing well and give Inter a hand getting into Europe."

There have been a lot of ups and downs for the team this season and, as a result, for the players as well. How have you been dealing with it?
"This season hasn’t been the easiest one with the change of ownership, which affected things a bit, and the ups and downs from a physical standpoint. However, we’re working hard and we have to stay strong since we have six tough games ahead. We’ll have to do the best we can to qualify for Europe."
How did you manage to say focused and prepared when you weren’t making the starting line-up?
"It took total commitment on my part, both physically and mentally. I worked hard when I wasn’t playing, and that was also the case on my days off with the fitness coaches. So when I had the chance to play again I was ready, at least physically."
Was it a bit tough on you when you weren’t playing? 
"That’s normal. It’s always tough for a footballer when he isn’t playing, but in this sport these things can happen."
Do you find AC Milan intimidating?
"We have to give 100% and not let up since we’re ahead of them now. We have to keep our thoughts on playing well and these games we have coming up. Our sole objective is qualifying for Europe."
How important is European qualification in saving this season? 
"It’s crucial. It’s the only goal we have and we need to aim for it at all costs in order to build a strong team for next season. But most of all there’s the fact that a team like Inter can’t miss out on Europe for two consecutive seasons."
What kind of Inter side do you see for next year?
"I hope it’s the year of rebirth. One in which the club gets settled and puts together a group that can compete well in Europe and the league, much more so than we have in these past few years."
Is Galatasaray is a memory or a door that could open up again?
"A memory. There were a few intense days there, but they ended and I stayed here. In fact, it’s not even a memory since nothing practical ever happened. They were just three mad days, and then I came back strong to give my all for this shirt. During every transfer window over the past three years people have been saying that I’ll leave, but I always stay. It’s always the same old story."
But what can you tell us about the interest from Roma and Juventus?
"I’m certainly pleased if these rumours are true because they’re important teams. But let me repeat: for years they’ve been saying I’m on my way out, yet I always stay. I’m happy to remain here, now and for the future."
What can you tell us about the renewal of your contract?
"There’s still time since it expires in 2015. At any rate, we really haven’t discussed it since we’re focused on qualifying for Europe, which is our main objective. There’s still a year and 3 months left, so there’s no hurry at all. When the time is right I’ll discuss it with the club."
Next Sunday’s game against Sampdoria is a bit of a derby for you, since you used to play for Genoa.
"Yes, it is a bit for me personally. But there are no derbies, and there are no easy or tough games. They’re all the same, in the sense that we have to improve our performances and win as many of them as we can, if not all of them."
Do you find the tough schedule intimidating, or does it just serve as more motivation for you?
"I find it to be motivating. The more you face tough teams the more motivated you are to play well. The upcoming fixtures are what they are. There’s nothing we can do to change them. We just have to face them the best we can."
Do you know Sinisa Mihajlovic?
"No, but he was very close with Deki [Stankovic], so we can say he’s a friend of a friend. He’s doing a great job, because he took over a Sampdoria side that was in a bit of a crisis and brought them to a higher level. We’re expecting a difficult match on Sunday, but we’re working hard. We’re ready, and we have no choice but to turn things around."
What kind of hopes do you have as regards the Italian national team?
"I’m very hopeful. And another objective I have, after qualifying for Europe with Inter, is to give Prandelli something to think about when he makes his choices for Brazil. I’m working with maximum commitment and, once again, these next six games will say a lot regarding the future."