Ranocchia: “Thrilled to wear the armband. Thanks to the coach and club”

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PINZOLO – Andrea Ranocchia, in his first match of the season as the new Nerazzurri captain, responded to questions from journalists in the mixed zone of the Stadio La Pineta after Inter v Trentino Team. 

Andrea, does the shirt weigh on you more when you wear the captain’s armband? 
“No, but we can say it brings more responsibility. I’m ready and I’m glad the coach and club have chosen me for the role. I want to continue with what Pupi has done. I’ll honour the shirt as I’ve always done, and I hope we can reach our objectives.”

From a defensive standpoint, does a year with Mazzarri represent a working foundation you can restart from? 
“Absolutely. The coach is one of the best in Italy and in Europe to field a three-man defence. We’ve learned a lot. Of course there are things we still need to sort out. We’ve started strongly this season. Now we’re waiting for the other internationals to arrive, but the foundation is in place and we’re working hard.”

Have you ever thought of how your career might have changed had you accepted when Antonio Conte was ‘courting’ you? 
“I never gave it any consideration. I’m fully committed to this project. I’ve always thought I’d stay here and win wearing this shirt because it’s one thing I really miss.” 

Were you surprised when he resigned? 
“I think everyone was a bit surprised by it. The team had already assembled for pre-season. He must have had his reasons, but we have to think about ourselves. This is something that should push us to do better.”

How have the new players Dodo and M’Vila looked to you? 
“M’Vila has only just arrived. He has to adjust to the workload. He looks to be integrating well with all his new team-mates. Dodo is a good lad. He’s putting in maximum effort and I believe he can be very useful to the entire team.”

You’ve inherited Marco Materazzi’s number 23 and the captain’s armband from Javier Zanetti. Do you think you were predestined to wear these colours? 
“We could say I took from the best. When Marco retired he asked me if I would like to wear his number, and I told him I would. I don’t know if I’m predestined for anything. I’ve always believed in these colours. I want to raise a few trophies seeing how the coach and club have decided to go with me as team captain.” 

Will you customise the armband as Zanetti did? And could Juan Jesus be your vice-captain? 
“I honestly haven’t considered customising it. We’ll see. It’s not so much about what the armband looks like, but rather the attitude and responsibility it requires to wear it. Juan also feels strongly for these colours. I believe he’ll become one of the best defenders in the world. He’ll also be an important part of his national team.”

This afternoon you began in the middle, and then you moved out to the right. Which position do you prefer to play in? And as far as the workload, I wanted to know if you find this pre-season to be heavier than the one last year.
“I’m comfortable in either position. In the final ten matches from last season I played a bit in the centre and a bit on the right, and I always did well. If I feel well physically I manage to play well anywhere. As for the workload, we’ve begun a bit earlier this time compared to previous years so we’ve lightened it a bit. That’s also in order to be in good shape for the summer tours. And we also have a big event coming up on 21 August.”