Bryan Cristante, fresh off a historic win at Wembley Stadium with the Italian national team, gave a lengthy interview to Corriere dello Sport where he shared his thoughts on Italy’s strength as a team, Roma’s disappointing 20/21 campaign, the surprising appointment of Mourinho and more.
When asked about what it felt like to be crowned European champion, the 26-year-old said:
“It was important for me as it was for all of us and not only in a footballing sense. It was important for Italy as we hadn’t won this trophy in 53 years. Our win helped Italian football, and we gave Italians something to get excited about after all we had been through over the last year and a half.”
The player then spoke of his contribution off the bench, which proved key in important moments, including the Euro final against England.
“I think I’ve done my part. I gave everything every time I came on the pitch. The main strength of this national team was this: everybody contributed, we all rowed in the same direction and we learned to put the team above the individual. In a tournament like this, this sense of unity can prove to be very important.”
Cristante also touched upon the moment he shared with Spinazzola, following the wing-back’s injury against Belgium and what went on through his head when he saw his team-mate break into tears.
“I have a special relationship with Spina. When we were kids we played together at Atalanta, and now we’ve spent the past two years at Roma. I immediately understood he was going through a very difficult moment, I tried to stay close to him and support him. Like he said, he’ll be back stronger, he’ll come back better than ever, one-hundred percent.”
The Italian international was then asked about Roma’s disappointing 20/21 campaign and whether he had any regrets.
“It wasn’t a good season, but I don’t have any regrets. A lot of things did not go the way we wanted them to, we had a number of problems. This year, we hope to start a new chapter with the arrival of a great coach. We will have to get better.”
Asked whether he had spoken to Mourinho, Cristante said:
“Only briefly. He congratulated me on the Euros and gave me a welcome. We’ll get to know each other better once I join the team in Algarve.”
Cristante spoke of his flexibility as a player and his willingness to play in the midfield and the defense.
“I always feel like a midfielder, but there were moments when I needed to cover a position in the back. We’ll see what Mourinho comes up with. Right now I don’t know.”
The player mentioned the enthusiasm brought along by The Special One’s arrival in the capital earlier in the month.
“The enthusiasm never left us. When things go wrong and the objectives become harder to reach then naturally you lose the necessary determination and conviction. This is perhaps most evident in the losses against smaller sides. With Mourinho you can certainly feel a different kind of euphoria which wasn’t there before.”
Cristante continued giving his thoughts on having Mourinho as a new manager.
“When he was at Inter, I never ran into him. I didn’t know what kind of manager he was back then. He’s certainly a good one, who’s won everywhere he’s been. He’s one of the greatest. I’ll get to know him in Portugal, but he obviously doesn’t need any kind of introduction.”
Then, he spoke of Mourinho’s arrival means for Roma going forward including the possibility of winning trophies.
“We have to believe, we always have to try and win every competition, we want to compete for everything. To win is the most difficult thing, but our objective is to win a trophy that hasn’t been won in a long time.”
Cristante was also asked about the famous De Rossi quote, which went “I want one-hundred players like Cristante.”
“It’s an honor to be spoken of in that way by Daniele who’s been one of our greatest midfielders.”
What Zaniolo’s return means for Roma:
“We know he’s a really great player. He’s surely going to give us a hand in trying to win. We’d been waiting for him.”
Cristante mentioned Mancini and Pellegrini’s exclusion from the Euros.
“They deserved to be there. I hope they’ll be there at the World Cup to win. They’re great players who should be playing for the national team.”
Finally, the player spoke of the Friedkins and what it means to have a direct line of communication with the club’s owners.
“They arrived with a clear vision. They’re always present, always available to talk to. They’re very serious when it comes to managing the club. They’ve helped us a lot, even by bringing in someone like Mourinho. Their objective is to always win.”
“Dan and his son are always on the training pitch which shows they consider this an important project. We are happy to see them there because it gives us an additional boost in order to believe in winning. Winning comes down to details, and to have the club’s owner there with us certainly gives us something extra.”
What Dzeko can still offer at 35 years of age:
“I believe he can still give us a lot. Edin is extraordinary, he’s shown it over the years with all the goals he’s scored. A player like him is always important, he can still be a difference-maker.”
Cristante concluded the lengthy interview by emphasizing once again the belief in winning.
“To celebrate with Roma is also my objective. We’ll try to win a trophy that hasn’t been won in a long time. That’s the mindset we’ll have at the start of this new season.”