Luis Alberto underlined his increased responsibility at Lazio and how he’s developed in the Italian capital over the years, both the highs and lows.
The 31-year-old Spanish midfielder is a central figure in Maurizio Sarri’s squad following Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s €42 million sale to Al-Hilal in the summer. He is the beating heart of the team, playing a crucial role in the build-up phase.
Luis Alberto has often been at the centre of controversy with Lazio, both for his tensions with coaches and random desires to leave the club to return to Spain. Despite this, he has signed a new deal tying him to the club until June 2028.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport (via Calciomercato.com), Luis Alberto first spoke about his happiness at Lazio and the times he’s considered leaving before.
For me, Lazio are everything, it’s my second home. Rome will always be my second home, I own one for this reason too. My children want stay here, they are Romans. In the summer they spent a month in Spain, they couldn’t wait to return to Rome.
They say this is their place. My wife is happy, and that’s the most important thing. Here we have everything we need we wish. There were times when I really thought about leaving: last December and the first year, when I couldn’t find space.
I spoke to Inzaghi before leaving for Auronzo: ‘Mister, I want to go to Spain and start over again in my country’. After five minutes he replied: ‘No, no, I’ll make you a playmaker’.
For now, Lazio are a bit confused. I expect good things after the victory over Torino, a fundamental step, crisis avoided.
He spoke about his former teammate Milinkovic-Savic.
I haven’t freed myself from the departure of Milinkovic-Savic, and it’s not that I don’t miss him a little.
But it’s true that in the seven years we spent together we were the ones who had to take on responsibilities, while now, with so many new ones, I have to do it for two.
It’s a role that I took on, alone, because I think that’s how it should be. I’ve been with Lazio for years, today I feel more mature, complete, I have to help a little more.
The 31-year-old discussed his relationship with Ciro Immobile and his willingness to speak out for what he wants.
Ciro and I have to be the most involved, especially when things aren’t going well, when the team don’t have the points they should have.
The important thing, in situations like this, is to stay free of mind and everything will surely come. I believe that the image of Lazio is Ciro, or rather they are Ciro.
I respect the club a lot, just as I respect Ciro, and I think he is the emblem of the team. He has done many good things.
I don’t know what they say or think about me, out of here. I don’t have this worry. I’ve been hearing voices for years, many voices of all kinds. Good, bad.
Neither one nor the other touches me. I’m like that, I’m a bit strange. In current football if you say something like that, it seems like you are sick.
I always go my own way, I follow my feelings. If you like what I say and do, fine. If you don’t like it, the problem is yours alone.
Sometimes I purposely kick up a bit of dust, especially when I’m looking for extra motivation. I like to make a bit of noise, I like to feel that tension, those sensations.
Sometimes my wife tells me: you have to stop, don’t go any further. I’m like that, if I want to do something I do it, I don’t care about the effects. If I think something is right for me, it’s impossible to stop me.
Luis Alberto remembered the various transfer market rumours.
Everyone said a lot of things: he wants to leave, he wants Sevilla and to return to Spain, but I never told the club that I wanted to leave 100%.
I explained that I had something in hand and that if it was also in their interest I would have willingly left. Cadiz are a different matter, it’s not current, it’s a team from my country, it’s my roots.
He opened up about his relationship with Sarri.
Our relationship was a bit strange. The team was playing without me and, rightly, I wanted the pitch. I asked him if I could go on loan for six months. Also, to take on a bit of responsibility, going away would have helped me, it would have helped me and Cadiz.
Sarri and I are very similar, which is why we experienced moments a bit like this. My head went one way, his went another. A coach must think about the good of the group and not all coaches, at certain times, know how to manage some players. We talked about it, calmly.
Last year he showed up after ten days, without having seen anyone, for the preparation of November and December, with the season stopped for the World Cup. I wanted Cadiz, to find the best physical condition, to play.
He must have noticed something different in me and told me ‘you’re not going anywhere, if you train well you always play’. From January to forward the music changed and so did my head. You have to learn a little from everyone.
Even when I felt bad with him, talking about football with friends I explained that I had helped him understand something. But above all it is he who helped me become a stronger, more complete player.
Thanks to Sarri I grew tactically, in the non-possession and defensive phases. It was what I was missing, today I sacrifice myself more without losing clarity and brilliance.
The Lazio star reflected on the evolving nature of modern football.
Football has changed. It’s not a type of football that I like very much, but it’s the way it is. Many coaches want 1.90m players with an impressive physique, I’m not that kind of athlete. More than athletics, it’s the head that counts, right?
I’m forced to play with my head because, as I told you, if you look at my physique it’s not exactly the best, I don’t have a muscle.
And I don’t even have a great run. But, as I always say, in the end everything is in the head and if my head runs faster and freer there is none for anyone.
I don’t see any footballers with my style of play or those of others before me today. I am a football lover of technique and if one day I become a coach I will try to rediscover the football that I like most.
But I think that football always wins in the end, we saw it with Guardiola, with the national team. To play good football, and not just to win, you can follow the example of De Zerbi’s Brighton. I also see good things in the Spanish national team, and for many years.
How important is the player and how important is the coach? There are players who know the exact difference between the coach’s instructions and what they have to do, and they behave accordingly.
You have to respect the technician’s work, but if you don’t have freedom, which sometimes gets lost a little, you’re in trouble.
They tell you ‘why are you doing this?. If the coach asks you to jump from 5 meters you have to do it’.
The choices on the pitch are made by the players, the coach helps with the organisation. Two years ago, Ancelotti said: ‘I can help a player defensively, but I can’t take away his creativity’.
The 31-year-old commented on his exclusion from the Spain national team.
The coaches follow their ideas, their principles. In Spain there are young people, especially in midfield, Gavi, Pedri, Fabian. They don’t call me. Fabian Ruiz is very technical, yes.
I leave a little more with the ball, but I think he crosses from outside the box better than me. We are a little different, but yes, in the end we are players with the ball.
Finally, Luis Alberto looked ahead to the future.
I see myself much better than when I was 23. Sometimes I think I was stupid. If I had had this head eight years ago, I don’t know where I could have played. Now I put pressure on myself.
I want to win something, I don’t know what, but I want to win more. I don’t like leaving the pitch without being able to say: ‘I can’t blame myself for anything, I gave everything’.
I want to get as far as possible in the Champions League and win it in May. Let’s see if the national team shows up too.