Reina Explains He Arrived at Lazio to “Help Strakosha Grow”

By Apollo Heyes -

Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha reflected upon his career and decision to join the Biancocelesti.

Speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo Magazine (via LazioNews24) yesterday, the 39-year-old Spanish goalkeeper first discussed his past career moments and the future.

Everything happened so quickly. Without realising it I was in the Champions League final. I wasn’t 100% ready for that experience, maybe because of the pressure. At the time I thought I would be playing in the Champions League a lot and other finals would happen.

It wasn’t like that, it was a unique opportunity. That night we were the better team, we still lost. The first goal killed us before half-time, the second one was a counter attack with Inzaghi who, among other things, hit the ball with his ankle, making it go under my body.

I wanted to win for me, for my teammates, for my father. The Champions League owes a cup to the Reina family. If my father didn’t make it and I didn’t make it, my son will probably win it.

Luca plays goal in Lazio’s youth teams, he will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, or at least I hope so.

The Lazio goalkeeper touched on an interesting pre-match ritual that he used to have during his time with Liverpool.

Getting petrol before matches is one of the many stupid rituals I’ve had in my career. I’m a superstitious guy and I always want to keep the order of events the same before matches. I had kept a clean sheet and we had won a match after filling up at the petrol station.

From there I thought I would fill up before every game. One time I only needed £5 to fill up and the attendant said, ‘What the hell are you doing?’. At Lazio I never did that. I realised I looked like a madman at the end. When I moved away from Liverpool I stopped.

Finally Reina discussed his decision to join Lazio, his longevity and when he’ll hang up his gloves.

The secret of my longevity lies in really loving what I do. I came in last year as a backup goalkeeper, trying to help out the guys and to help Strakosha grow. Then, suddenly, because of COVID and his absence for five games, I moved up the pecking order.

At that point the coach, Simone Inzaghi, decided to reverse the roles and I remained the starter for the rest of the season. I love football, being a goalkeeper. It’s a way of life. Dedication is the most important thing. To be at the top level one, three, four or five years, talent is enough.

But for 20 years that’s not guaranteed. It’s not easy. I don’t know how long I’m going to play. Maybe a couple of years? I think when I don’t feel the butterflies in my stomach anymore, it will be time to say goodbye.

The 39-year-old Reina, who is contracted to Lazio until the end of this season, has made 15 Serie A appearances so far this season, for a total of 1350 minutes. In that time, he has conceded 29 goals and kept two clean sheets.

The Spanish veteran has recently lost his starting spot to Thomas Strakosha, with his last appearance coming in Lazio’s 4-4 draw with Udinese at the start of December, as coach Maurizio Sarri has decided to bet on the Albanian again.

Tags Biancocelesti Italy Lazio Pepe Reina Reina Rome Serie A Strakosha Thomas Strakosha