Dzeko: “Nothing compares to Rome.”

Roma striker Edin Dzeko gave a lengthy interview with The Guardian before the Giallorossi’s clash against Chelsea. These are his words:

“To be honest, I don’t feel like I am able to say that I had a childhood, not in a way normal kids my age had. I had something that was specific to Bosnia in 90s, something I call a period of survival. I was a kid when the war broke and I was not aware of most of the things, but war makes you grow up faster, forces you to learn things you would never learn and live life differently. I always loved football, I couldn’t breathe without football, even during the war, but I never gave a thought to being a star. Of course, we all dream about doing big, playing for big clubs, but I wanted to play football because of the love for the game. And I still do. I love the game, I love to watch it, to read about it, to talk about it and most of all, to play it. It’s my first love and this is why I still don’t see myself as a ‘star’. I see myself as lucky.”

He continued, “I think the only time I talk about the war is when I talk to foreign journalists. I never talk about the war with my family, with my wife, my parents, sister. I do remember it very well but I don’t see the point. It’s something I left behind long ago. It was a terrible experience, it changed us all, no matter how old you were at the time. But when it was finished we all tried to move on. During those three years everyone, even kids, dreamed to live a normal life, so after the war finished, we just did that. However, when things are bad, when I am going through difficult times, I do think about everything my family and I went through. Take football, for example; I hate to lose, I hate when I miss chances, but things like that must happen in football. Then you sit down, think about what was a really terrible thing in your life, times when you didn’t have anything to eat, drink or normal clothes to wear, you and everyone around you. And you see that things are good now. It’s weird to use the word positive in this context, but if there is a positive from what we survived it is the fact that we are now aware that there is always worse in life. And we experienced worse in first person.”

“Nothing compares to Rome. Nothing. People there are crazy about football, in a positive way. The expectations were big in Germany, bigger in England, but nothing even close to Rome. It’s a special city, with a special bond with a club and people adore it. In Manchester I could go out for a dinner or for a walk; people would stop me and politely ask for a photo from time to time. In Rome it is impossible for me to walk normally in the city. They are passionate, love their club and their players and the attention is enormous. And that kind of attention and passion raises expectations and pressure. But I am not saying this in a negative way. I love how things work there, because passion and love is what football is supposed to be about.”

“I am a football freak. I watch football all the time. All the leagues, all the matches I can. No matter the level, no matter the teams. On a team bus I watch football on my tablet or phone and then when I have free time on weekends at home, I sit on my sofa and watch football again. Any league – Bosnian league, La Liga, Premier League and mostly Serie A. I can see good and bad sides of teams we play against, defenders I play against. I look for that space, their movement, to weaknesses the opposition have.”

“Chelsea? They are a very good team. I watch the Premier League every weekend and I was impressed with them last season. Conte gave them a different dimension, I would call that an Italian dimension. They are packed with fantastic individuals and a joy to watch, and no team can say it will be easy to go to Stamford Bridge and beat them. They are one of the teams that can win the Champions League this season.”

“Well, we are not here to win the Champions league. We have different goals, different class. The first aim is to reach the knockout stages. My aim? I don’t even think what will I do after I stop playing. I have three years of contract and I don’t think this is my last contract. I just want to enjoy. I just want to score goals. And win. As long as possible.”