Lazio striker Ciro Immobile looked ahead to the Azzurri’s Euro 2020 quarter-finals against Belgium on Friday.

Speaking to gathered reporters at a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi) earlier today, the 31-year-old Italian forward first commented on the trust placed upon him.

Never before have I felt the trust of everyone, I feel really good.

We had a very good match against Austria, maybe not the best one, but we brought the result home.

He then spoke about Inter and Belgium star Romelu Lukaku.

He’s very strong, we’re lucky to know him well and to have him in the league.

Our defenders will have to deal with him.

Immobile also touched upon two other Belgium stars, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.

They are fundamental, if they are not at their best, they will have some problems. But without them they’ll have someone to replace them.

With De Bruyne and Hazard on the pitch it’s a different game, they shift the balance and put everyone in difficulty.

We would prepare it if they were 100%, it’s important for us to follow the line we’ve had so far. We have always done the European Championship at our best, reacting well to difficulties.

The Lazio striker discussed his desire to see Italy succeed and if he thought about the goalscoring record.

I would like to win. I would take away the two goals I scored to bring home the trophy, that’s the truth. I tried everything against Austria, but due to bad luck and my own mistakes I didn’t score.

But at the end of the match, we had a great party. It was not easy, there are the strongest teams in the UEFA ranking, there are teams that play in the big leagues.

With Austria it was hard. As far as records are concerned, I would like to reach them but I prefer to win.

He commented on the elimination of Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was an intense, hard-fought match. We weren’t rooting for either of them. They are both strong, Portugal deserved more in the second half, Belgium showed their potential in the first.

Ronaldo? Everyone wants to challenge him, he’s the best. Since he arrived in Serie A, the competitiveness has increased considerably.

The 31-year-old Italian striker spoke about the other top teams left in the competition.

Spain, Belgium, England and Germany. They are the strongest national teams left, we’re three games away from our goal and we want to go all the way.

Immobile spoke about France’s elimination to Switzerland yesterday.

We were pleased with the fact that it was shown that this European Championship is difficult. It is hard to play when you are superior, the litmus test is always the field.

We won and dominated against Switzerland, making them look like a small team, while yesterday they showed the opposite.

The Biancocelesti star touched upon the different role he plays with the Azzurri.

Against Austria, my teammates tried to put me in a position to score. The coach is satisfied for the intensity and the desire.

It was not the best match of the European Championship, the first two went better but the important thing was the result.

The team needs me and I need the team, we all travel in the same direction. The coach is asking me to do a different job compared to Lazio, but I don’t mind.

On the contrary. I’m trying to put everything into it, even staying at the end of sessions to improve things that aren’t in my technical skillset.

Immobile spoke about the mistakes that he has made with the Azzurri in the past.

Having missed a few goals in the past, the mistakes I’ve made, the World Cup I missed, can weigh on me. I’m not being self-critical, I’m very satisfied with what I’m doing and what we’re doing.

Never before have I had the support and trust of everyone, it has never been like that here.

I scored 15 goals with the national team, not many, I would have liked to score more but a victory can erase the past and the stories previously told.

I’m trying to erase the past with this European Championship. For me it is important, I showed it with Turkey, I am worried about not being able to help the team but I want to move forward.

He discussed two of his teammates, Domenico Berardi and Federico Chiesa.

They are different, the coach wants them to stay wide. They’re having a great European Championship, Bernardeschi too.

I reiterate it strongly, whatever the decisions are, we are 26 starters and we need everyone.

The Lazio striker commented on his relationship with coach Roberto Mancini.

The relationship has improved compared to the beginning, when you play certain competitions, it is important. Vialli helps me a lot, having played the same role as me.

The relationship with Mancini has improved and I have passed something on to him, he has always made me play good games and I always try to give my best.

He looked over the Belgium squad ahead of Friday’s quarter-finals.

Compared to last European Championship they have ten players from that team. Their personality and experience has increased, they are more ready now.

Technically and tactically we can see it, they are organised and technically strong.

The 31-year-old Italian spoke about the improvements of Lukaku over the years.

Last time against him he scored two goals against us, Let’s avoid the challenge! He has a devastating physical strength, he has speed, compared to recent years he has improved a lot.

Working with Conte has improved him a lot, he has always had strength and speed, he is a great worker.

Immobile touched on the various criticisms that the team has faced this tournament.

I didn’t hear the criticism after Austria, maybe I missed something. When you’re Italy’s striker you can’t pretend you don’t have any. We won, we brought the result home, what counts is the result.

I always had a defender attached to my back. When Belotti came on, he gave us a hand and this is to be underlined, this shows that we are united.

The people expect a lot from us, they must charge us, we are preparing this challenge with enthusiasm.

After moments like this, closed in the house, away from loved ones, it can bring a smile back to everyone.

He did not want to decide who was stronger between himself and Lukaku.

I’m going forward for my team, I’ll let you decide. We’ll ask Inzaghi.

Immobile touched upon the frustrations shared by coach Mancini.

Maybe because Ciro is the shortest name… In the locker room he’s different, he’s much calmer. But he gives me confidence, because he stimulates and spurs you on. It’s fundamental to have everyone’s trust.

Do I feel like a starter? I feel important, at the centre of the project, appreciated. When you feel like that you can play half an hour or forty minutes, you will always give your best.

The Biancocelesti star spoke about how it felt to miss out on the World Cup in 2018.

When we went out in the quarter-finals against Germany, we were left with a void inside, but nothing compared to the draw against Sweden. It was difficult, the worst of my football life.

From then on, I had the strength to pick myself up, to receive some criticism. It was a lesson to carry on, I hope, in the European Championship until the end.

I’m trying to get rid of all the negative things from the past and with results and performances I’m succeeding.

I know I have a big responsibility with my teammates, we wear a historic jersey that has won four World Cups and we always try to get to the end.

It’s important to stay focused, going forward as we have done so far.

He touched on his relationship with teammate Lorenzo Insigne.

We have nothing to do, we play Playstation. He’s just films and TV series. I always have to walk carefully, he’s small and hides everywhere.

We came back from lunch, he came into the room with Verratti, he was inside the wardrobe and scared me. One of these days I’m going to have a big scare…

Finally, Immobile touched upon his roots and the start of his footballing journey in Torre Annunziata.

On a football pitch I started to build my dream. I started from the age of four. That’s where my dream began, at the time it was a clay pitch, now it’s a synthetic one.#


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