Lazio midfielder Danilo Cataldi expressed his motivation to impress new coach Maurizio Sarri.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Italian media outlet La Lazio Siamo Noi earlier today, the 26-year-old Italian midfielder first spoke about what it means for him to play for the Biancocelesti.

This club means everything to me, I joined the youth academy in 2006, I’ve always been here apart from those short intervals that, for better or worse, have helped me grow. 

Lazio is like a family for me, I’m at home, I know everything, I’m happy to be part of this family.

He touched on the changes in the Biancocelesti environment following the arrival of the 62-year-old Italian coach.

A different Lazio, obviously we talked mainly about the formation, which is the most radical change. 

The feelings are positive, initially maybe we will encounter some difficulties, we will try to do in the best way and quickly understand what the coach wants.

The Italian midfielder commented on what role he will play under Sarri next season.

I don’t know, let’s see. I’m working as before, as always, I make myself completely available to the coach.

Cataldi discussed the impact that Sarri had on him.

Very positive, we had chats even before coming here to Auronzo. He made us understand what we have to be, what we have to be in the future. 

He has very clear ideas, he makes them understood on and off the pitch, he brought a lot of positive things.

The 26-year-old Italian spoke about his ups and downs at Lazio and whether they’re dependant on him or others.

It’s a difficult question, last year I had a very problematic start, I was coming from a problem in the previous season, I got injured after the lockdown, I carried the problem with me during the summer, during the break and then until the start of the season. It was difficult. 

In addition, two midfield players were bought, so it’s normal that there was more competition. 

The coach made certain choices, it depended a little on me, on my physical condition or training, I guess the coach made certain choices because of that. When I’ve been called upon I’ve always tried to give my best.

The Biancocelesti youth product discussed the difficulties of making an impact on the pitch.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s easy to play small parts or a game after not playing for so long. From the outside it looks simple, but I can assure you that it’s not. There are movements between departments that you can do automatically if you are on the pitch every week. 

It’s more complicated when you change. It’s partly down to me, partly down to the rest. If the team is doing well, as it did two years ago, you can do well by changing players. 

There was so much enthusiasm and desire to bring home a result that we did well regardless. There was a line to follow and we followed it. When the team is struggling it’s more difficult.

The 26-year-old Italian midfielder did not think that he found his comfort zone with the Biancocelesti.

That’s not the case, I assure you. You can be happy here with your family, but if I had experienced the same situation as last year for several seasons I don’t know if I would have stayed. I’m talking about me, but it can be extended to any player. 

If you don’t feel you’re able to help anymore it’s counterproductive. If the coach makes his choices you have to respect them, but if you don’t even feel like you’re being discussed, if you train well or badly and nothing changes, then for me it’s counterproductive. 

A player’s career is too short to think about comfort zones and things like that, I would also damage the team by thinking like that, it would be unfair.

Cataldi highlighted that he is self-motivated and touched on what position he’ll play in the 4-3-3.

I’m someone who motivates himself. The arrival of the coach with his personality helps you in this anyway, it’s all new. Automatically you are more motivated. 

So far I’ve only tried out as an inside midfielder, I’m doing well, I haven’t done that for a while, with Inzaghi I almost only played as a playmaker, but in the youth academies and in other years I played as a mezzala. I just need to get used to it again.

He commented on the re-signing of Brazilian winger Felipe Anderson.

I’m really happy, Felipe is a great player and a great guy. He’s been very well received by everyone, I’m happy he’s back. 

I hope he can show us the things he showed us during his time here.

The 26-year-old Italian midfielder discussed the fight for Champions League qualification next season.

It’s going to be a good fight, there are a lot of teams who can aspire to the Champions League and the top places, it will be a good season.

He looked ahead to the Derby della Capitale against Roma.

More than Mourinho I see the opposing team. Sarri has already faced important matches, the feelings for the derby may be a little different, but the fans will make him understand that.

Finally, Cataldi refused to express what his dream for the future was.

I’d better not say anything, I keep everything to myself. I greet the Lazio fans with affection.


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Below is the full video of the interview with Cataldi, courtesy of La Lazio Siamo Noi.