Nicolo Zaniolo of Roma has denied allegations that he was on the verge of leaving the Giallorossi during the transfer window and maintains his current attitude toward his contract status.
Zaniolo scored the game-winning goal when Jose Mourinho’s team defeated Feyenoord to win the first Europa Conference League in May, helping Roma end a 14-year trophy drought.
In the Italian capital, the attacker’s contract is not up until 2024.
He was, however, highly rumored to be leaving during the most recent transfer window.
Juventus was supposed to be the most probable bidder for the 23-year-old, who has nine senior Italy caps, but he claims that a transfer was never likely.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Roma’s Europa League clash with HJK, Zaniolo said:
“It was not a unique summer for me. It always seems that I always go, and then I stay.
“These are inferences and thoughts that [the media] make. I still have a year and a half on the contract to be able to talk about it. This is not the time right now because we have HJK and Atalanta.
“Roma has given me so much. It has given me everything, and we hope to win other titles.”
Zaniolo also outlined his appreciation for Mourinho’s backing, adding:
“I have to thank the coach because he’s always been willing to give me a hand and a second chance. He’s a great coach and a great person. I’m happy to have him.”
Roma is unbeaten in their last 19 home games in European competitions (W13 D6), the longest such streak in club history, prior to their matchup with the Finnish team on Thursday.
Roma did lose 2-1 to Ludogorets to start their Europa League campaign, but Mourinho has lost his past two matches in the tournament (also 3-0 v Dinamo Zagreb with Tottenham in March 2021). Before this season, Mourinho has only lost three of his 24 Europa League contests (W17 D4).
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s leadership skills will be essential if the Giallorossi are to start their season on Thursday.
If only he could play several positions, Mourinho would use him.
“Last year, I talked about three Pellegrini’s, who would always be starters because he can play three different roles and does them all.
“For his age, he has room for improvement, but he’s a top player.
“It’s a pity that there is only one – I would like three Lorenzos. We try to give him a role where he feels at ease.
“Lorenzo is the first to know that as a captain, the most important thing is to be available to the team.”
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