Luca Pellegrini explained how his move to Lazio came about, what he can bring to Maurizio Sarri’s squad and how he can adapt to the tactical system in Rome.
The 23-year-old Italian left back joined the Biancocelesti on deadline day in the January transfer window, signing on a six-month loan deal with a buy option attached.
Sarri briefly worked with Pellegrini during their time together at Juventus and believed he’d be the perfect low-cost addition to reinforce the squad.
Speaking at his unveiling press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Pellegrini first discussed how his previous work with Sarri can help in his adaption at Lazio.
Knowing the coach beforehand, some concepts remained with me. One more thing for me to come here, I respect him a lot for how he sees football. We footballers talk to each other, we know through the grapevine who a coach can be.
Everyone has spoken well of him. I did two months with him in Turin, I saw something, I hope it’s something more for me. I don’t know how long we’ve been together, COVID has affected our perception of time! Anyway, I hope it’s a weapon in my favour.
He gave his first impressions of the Biancocelesti squad.
I was amazed, maybe that’s not the right word because I already knew so many of them before. I think it’s a truly unique group, I settled in very well straight away, the settling in of a new player, even if prepared, is never easy.
They gave me a hand. I already had a relationship with Romagnoli, Patric and Zaccagni. All the others also made a very good impression on me. I’m happy, it’s a group with great values.
He revealed when he realised he could join the Roman club.
When the negotiations materialised on the last day. It had been talked about for some time, but maybe it’s more important for others than for me, I don’t read the newspapers much. I’m more of the new generation, I see more the links online.
I would say at the last anyway, a year and a half ago I read that Lazio were looking for a left-back, I told my agent jokingly ‘let’s go…’. It wasn’t really until 31st January though.
The 23-year-old spoke about Sarri’s defensive system in Rome.
They are all different coaches, they have a different way of analysing the game. Maybe it’s better to ask the coach, he would answer better than me. I was lucky enough to be in Turin with him, the concepts are the topic of the first weeks.
Distance with the ball, with other players, moving , body position. When I’m ready it’s better to ask him, I have complete faith in the coach, I’m here for him too. If he hasn’t put me in yet he’ll have his reasons.
Pellegrini discussed what he brings to the squad from his experience abroad.
Touring so many teams gives you a broad cultural background. I am 23 years old, in March 24, I have already travelled a lot. In my last experience I think I had the chance to see another kind of football, different from Italy.
Being away I changed my ideas a bit, you understand that football is not a written law, you can interpret it and play it differently. I think it’s a very complicated sport, you play in all conditions and that can make the difference.
I bring with me beautiful memories from the past experience, I was there until two weeks ago. Good feelings, we had an important season, we were third, we earned access to the Champions League Round of 16.
I earned it too! In my opinion it’s an experience everyone should have, it enriches you and opens your head about culture, dynamics, customs of other countries. Also, about what football feels like. I’m happy with the choice I made in August.
He revealed who his role model was when he was a teenager.
Until I was 16, I changed all the roles on the pitch, I didn’t have an idol in particular. Then I realised that I was going to play left back, full-back or wide, I got passionate and approached Bale, Maldini and Marcelo.
They are different, I don’t have a particular idol as an end point. I try to steal a little something from each one.
He touched on what he can bring to Lazio.
Lazio have so many values, a flaw I struggle to find. I can personally bring some energy, some good mood, some desire to keep pushing.
Of a desire to do well, of music in the dressing room, when I arrived there was none.
The 23-year-old commented on his family’s reaction to his decision to join the Biancocelesti.
At home we couldn’t talk about it, we were superstitious even with friends. There were a lot of rumours, I said anyway be careful about believing everything. Then one runs the risk of getting hurt.
I’m beginning to realise now that I’m a Lazio player. This conference will make me realise it even more. Knowing the faith of the family, myself and friends, the news was received like a fairy-tale.
Pellegrini was asked about the Italian block at the Roman club.
I think it can definitely be a positive thing, beyond Italians or not. We are talking about strong players.
Surely perhaps it increases the sense of belonging by having so many Italians, it’s easier to transmit the identity to newcomers.
The Italian full back spoke about his desire to break into Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri squad.
Surely the national team is every child’s dream, along with playing for the team you’re a fan of. I achieved the first part, now I’m looking for reconfirmation here.
It is the first goal I set myself, to be part of the squad next season. The national team is a point of arrival, the consequence of what you do at the club.
Finally, Pellegrini discussed the Derby della Capitale and how it’ll feel for him, a local of the city.
I think the derby is an important match, it’s worth three points in the end anyway. There will be emotions that I think I can handle by now. I know it’s more heartfelt than the other matches, but I don’t think it’s particularly different.
Roma have been part of the past, like Juve, Genoa, Cagliari and Eintracht. It will be an ex-club match for me like the others.