Interviews

Ex-Roma midfielder Maxime Gonalons recalls Giallorossi spell

Andy Mattioli
I

Former Roma midfielder Maxime Gonalons looked back on his brief but eventful spell with the Giallorossi.

In particular, Gonalons spoke to Gianluca Di Marzio about the 2017/18 season when the capital club – led by ex-head coach Eusebio Di Francesco – reached a historic Champions League semifinal after completing an impressive comeback over Barcelona.

“First of all, it was an honor to play for this club even if my Giallorossi experience didn’t last long. If I have to use one word to describe this club, I say Totti! Even if we didn’t play together, he was always there every day.”

“I still follow Roma and I saw that Mourinho has brought enthusiasm back to the environment. The Olimpico is always full and the Roma fans are very warm, especially when things are going well like in my time in the Champions League and in the league. Looking back, those were truly beautiful moments…”

“Totti? There are those who even say that he is almost at the level of the Pope! Totti then wore the shirt of only one club, which is very rare in today’s football. He was the emblem of Roma for many years, scoring incredible goals. It was nice to see him play, you just need to see the people’s tribute after his last game to realize it. I hadn’t signed for Roma yet and I watched his farewell on TV.”

“In 2017/18 we finished third in Serie A and reached the semi-final of the Champions League where we narrowly exited due to the first leg match where qualification got a bit out of hand. The Remontada against Barcelona in the quarter-finals with a goal from Manolas was a crazy moment. We lost 4-1 in Spain and won 3-0 at home. In terms of emotions, that match is one of the best moments of my career. I still think we had the chance to win the Champions League that year. In the return match against Liverpool we came close to achieving the feat but there are still good moments to think of.”

“Roma’s midfield in those years was packed. It was complicated to climb my way into the team’s line-up but I was aware of the difficulties before coming. However, I learned a lot in Rome, especially on a tactical level, although obviously I hoped to play more. But playing with great champions and in a big club with as much pressure as Roma I learned a lot. It was all very nice…”

“De Rossi? Daniele is a très grand Monsieur as we say here,” remarked the French midfielder. “He a very great man! We played in the same position and he too was an emblematic captain. He always found the right words when I played in his place but also when I wasn’t among the starters. De Rossi was important to me.”

Match Center

MatchDay 38
26 May 20:45
Empoli
EMP
Roma