Roma unveil Carles Pérez, Ibañez, and Gonzalo Villar

John Solano

Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi spoke at a press conference today to unveil his January signings Carles Pérez, Ibañez, and Gonzalo Villar. Here’s what was said:

Petrachi begins: “We are here to introduce these three lads here. First, though, I’ve got to get some things off my chest about some things that have been written over the last few weeks. I want to clarify on a few items. Some things have been written and if you (the media) continue to write this bullshit and nothing is done about it, it could perhaps be turned into something that is perceived to be true”.

“At my initial press conference here when I joined, I said that it was Year Zero. I was called-upon by the club to try and fix some mistakes that were made in previous years and I tried to solve some issues that existed at the club last year and the previous one. I got to work with humility, desire, and enthusiasm. I had to transform things that didn’t work last year. So I say this: Roma has, indeed, been revolutionised — maybe some of you forget that”.

“We’ve sold 20 players and brought in 14 — paying 70 million for 7 of them. It’s necessary for some to realise that patience and understanding is needed for this type of project. When there’s a revolution, sometimes there are both good and bad things that happen. However, I don’t like slander and falsehoods being written or talked about, most of which come from cowards who work at the newspapers or in the media.”

“I haven’t announced anything…I haven’t responded to your messages…but as of today, I seem to be the one you (the media) wants to attacked. I’ll try not to let it bother me as I try to do my work with the utmost commitment. However, as long as I’m here, I’ll try to mold things in the way I see football. Will I succeed? Who knows, but I’m dong my best. If there’s a bit of intelligence and good faith here (in this room), then it’s important to realise that the Roma which is being criticised now is the same that was being praised a few weeks ago against Lazio”.

“I was prepared for something like this, but I wasn’t prepared for the complete and utter lies. I’ve seen many articles from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere dello Sport, Il Tempo that said things like ‘Petrachi was reprimanded by Dzeko because he wants more quality on the pitch’. This is the first of many bullshits you guys have written. If Dzeko has an issue with any of the players, he brings it up in the dressing room”.

“The next bullshit you guys wrote was that I was being ‘tested’ by the new potential ownership when they were in Rome last week. Wrong. The new buyers wanted to know about possible plans and expenses for next season. Another one that was written: ah see, Petrachi is guilty of breaking his contract with Torino. Then I was acquitted”.

“I’m not only talking about the newspapers, those of you on television are guilty, too. Look — I’m aware this is a very difficult moment for Roma, perhaps we’ve lost our humility. The performance in the Derby made us fly higher than we should have. We’re struggling with Fonseca’s game, and I don’t mean that as a defamation. His football requires aggression on the ball and if you don’t press well, we look worse and worse”.

“We got things wrong against Sampdoria, Torino, Sassuolo, and Bologna, we know it . We have to do more, this team is young and with guys who are still getting to know each other. Difficulties have arisen and we must face them and get out of this moment. The most beautiful Roma this season was when we had all of those injuries. We must re-find our identity. But that’s all I’ve got, let’s unveil these three lads”.

PEREZ: Did you notice any tactical differences between Italy and Spain? with La Liga? Fonseca told us how he spoke to you about this.
He told me about this when we spoke on the phone — about the higher degree of difficulty in the Italian league. I was more comfortable in my second appearance, though.

IBANEZ: What are your characteristics?
I’m quick, I can jump well, and I like to play with the ball at my feet. These are only words, though, it’s up to me to prove it on the pitch.

PETRACHI: “I have to say one thing, my friend and the former director here, Walter Sabatini, said something inaccurate. Ibañez never signed a contract with Bologna and didn’t have two contracts signed with them and Roma. He chose Roma – it wasn’t an economic issue. He was convinced by our project and Fonseca. Nobody should question the choice this young man made”.

VILLAR: How are you settling in Rome?
First, I’d like to thank the sporting director as well as my teammates for the welcome they’ve given me. I’m settling well and I want to work hard here.

VILLAR: Which role is your preferred one? Can you replace Diawara?
Diawara is a great footballer and it’s a shame he’s injured, we hope he returns soon. I feel most comfortable playing as a number 8 with a defensive mediano next to me. I’ve also played as a mezz’ala but I’m ready to play in any role the manager asks of me.

PETRACHI: Can you clarify what happened in Reggio Emilia during the Sassuolo match?
It was 3-0 after the first 45 minutes, so I spontaneously went to the dressing room and said that they should be ashamed of themselves for such a performance. I didn’t see the same team that we saw against Lazio. Then the coach spoke and took the floor to say what he wanted about tactics. Afterwards, I listened to the manager’s lecture. I always go to the dressing room, I’m always in contact with the team and I find it legitimate that if there is something, like being below three goals, I must make my voice and that of the club heard.

There wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, but I am attentive to the jackals who write certain things. This isn’t healthy journalism, it’s gossip. I have every right to say what I think and I will do it as long as I am here to do my job

IBANEZ: You come from Atalanta, how do you face such a team?
It is a team that I know well, but now I am here. It’s a difficult match but we will prepare well for it.

PEREZ: Is Roma a point of arrival? Or do you have the thought of potentially returning to Barca?
I came here, obviously it means that I want to grow here and become an important player. Barcelona is the past, Roma is my present. I have a contract here for 4.5 years and I’ll do everything I can to improve here.

VILLAR: Your former manager said you lost 2 kilos due to stress from the transfer rumors. Can you explain why that was?
(Laughs) Yes, it’s true. From 20-30th January, it was chaos. I had a strong desire to come here and it wasn’t certain the deal would close. Thankfully it did and I’m here now.

PEREZ: What convinced you to accept Roma?
I’ve always viewed Roma as a great club. The manager’s confidence in me and what I could do here were decisive. I’m very happy to be here. I left a great club and landed at an equally great one. I’m satisfied.

IBANEZ: The team went to lunch together yesterday: what’s your opinion on the group here at Roma?
We had lunch after training, it’s a great group of guys and they’ve welcomed us very nicely. We haven’t been here long, but we already feel like a part of the group here.

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