Senad Lulic reflected on the incredibly disappointing end to his time with Lazio and what ultimately led to his departure from the club.
The Bosnian midfielder spent 10 years with the Biancocelesti from 2011 to 2021, leaving last July after his contract expired. He became a key figure in Lazio’s history following his winning goal in the 2013 Coppa Italia final against rivals Roma, a moment that’ll never be forgotten in the Italian capital.
I’m fine, I live in Chur, I’m a 24-hour father, I enjoy my family, my freedom. I take the kids to play football, my daughter plays unihockey. I’m a taxi driver! The last two years in Rome were not easy.
My family was in Switzerland, it was also hard because of the pandemic. I decided to dedicate myself to them. I’m resting and recharging myself.
On 6th June I will start the course at Coverciano, I’ll get the UEFA A coaching licence, then I’m not ruling anything out.
I live as I did before football, I’m a simple man. In Rome I was overwhelmed by affection, a continuous emotion. Here someone stops me every now and then, it doesn’t happen often.
The former Lazio midfielder touched on if he misses football after stepping away.
If I said no I would be lying. But I didn’t stop with the stadiums full, that helped me.
I wanted to disconnect, I needed time for myself. I also didn’t want to do interviews so as not to create a mess up Lazio inside and out. I needed calm to rethink everything. I’m waking up a bit.
He revealed the seriousness of the injury he suffered near the tail-end of his Lazio career.
It wasn’t an injury. It was an accident. So many people don’t know or pretend not to. Fortunately it happened to me when I was 35. I had offers, but if I had continued I would have needed someone to follow me from morning to night.
In early January 2020 my ankle was hurting, I had taken a knock in Brescia. I continued playing with the pain, there weren’t many changes. Everyone told me it would all pass, that the ankle was just inflamed. In the end I took a year’s break.
After the operation I had an infection in my ankle, the fault of a bacterium, staphylococcus. I had to have three operations, one in Rome, two in Switzerland. After the first operation I kept having pains. I packed my bags, went to Switzerland.
The bacteria had eaten away at my tissues, my muscles. They explained to me that in extreme cases the ankle could be at risk, organs could be attacked, infections could be created in the blood. Luckily it went well. I thought it was bullsh*t, I didn’t realise it was such a serious problem.
Lulic touched on his recovery following the three operations.
I was lucky to work with physiotherapists who were able to help me. I was proud to be back. I’ve heard from so many champions that after ankle injuries you’re not what you were before.
The former midfielder looked back at the nature of his departure from Lazio.
When I return to Rome I feel an incredible love and that’s the most beautiful thing. They also respect me as a man. I’m proud of my 10 years at Lazio. I get messages, I feel loved.
I had no expectations, however, I expected clarity from the club. I thought we would sit down to clarify what to do. I felt anger, bitterness.
You play the last game against Sassuolo and you don’t know what will happen, whether you’ll stay or not. In March or April I could have been told ‘Senad, we want to rejuvenate the squad’.
There would have been no problem. There was a lack of clarity. I would have gladly continued, five minutes after ten years could have been found. Instead I left on holiday and stayed on holiday.
Lulic spoke about who made the decision to end his time in Rome and why he didn’t receive a new contract.
On 30th June Tare called me and told me that we wouldn’t continue together, that they’d sign someone else.
I think my departure had been decided. In football you blame others. In the end it passed through that it was Sarri who didn’t want me, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it.
I don’t know. They could have told me ‘Hysaj is stronger, we don’t need you anymore’. They rejuvenated the squad, yes. Then Pedro arrived in the oldest team in Serie A.
The Bosnian touched on his relationship with the Biancocelesti faithful.
They move me, to say thank you is too little. There will always be a bond. 26th May is and always will be Lazio and the Lazio fans. It cannot be touched. And there is no revenge.
He spoke about how the fans have asked for him to be given a proper farewell and why that hasn’t happened.
You can’t invite yourself to a wedding. I can’t call Lazio and say ‘throw a farewell match for me please’.
If it hasn’t happened so far I don’t think it will, it’s too late. There was the excuse of the pandemic, that’s fine. Simply a thank you was enough.
I have the 60,000 at the Olimpico regardless when I come to Rome. I saw the awards ceremony at the last game and that hurt me even more. I also felt sorry for Luiz Felipe, the only one not given an award.
He spoke a little more about Luiz Felipe’s tearful goodbye.
Poor guy, he was crying. It must not have been nice for the fans either. You shouldn’t be p*ssed off or touchy if someone leaves. Look at Juve with Dybala or Romagnoli at Milan. You need respect, sometimes it’s lacking.
Lulic discussed the most important moment in his Lazio career – the winner against Roma in the 2013 Coppa Italia final.
I was an ordinary guy, I entered the hearts of the fans, I’m one of them. Hero is a bit of an exaggeration. I realised everything after years, when you feel part of the fans’ DNA. That goal is football immortality.
I was in the right place at the right time. I was good at reading the action, slowing, coordinating. It wasn’t easy after Lobont’s parry. It took luck, but also the will to hit that ball. I wasn’t there by accident.
How can I explain an inexplicable emotion? Just look at the images. I didn’t sleep for many nights. It gave me an emotion for life, the most you can ask for.
He looked back at some of his coaches during his time in Rome.
Reja gave me my debut, he invented me as a midfielder. Petkovic discovered me. Pioli and Inzaghi fought for the Scudetto, they are great. Simone has grown with us.
Lulic revealed that he still followed Lazio this year.
I do when I can. You finished fifth, you’ve done yours. I wish the fans the Champions League.
Finally, Lulic discussed the issue of inconsistency in Rome.
It’s been said for years. In Rome it’s never easy, there’s pressure because of the city rivalry. Lazio lack a lot to make the leap….
Peruzzi said it’s not easy to work, we need more synchronism, a project that involves everyone, tranquillity. And a few more players, indeed this year the options on the bench were a little better.