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Perotti delighted to get reward for 'best spell' of his career

Diego Perotti underlined his delight at committing his long-term future to Roma on Thursday, moments after signing his new contract.

The forward, 29, agreed terms on a two-year contract extension – confirming his future with the Giallorossi until the summer of 2021.

And the former Genoa man admitted he felt the contract represented a “reward” for his hard work ever since joining the club in January 2016.

"To be honest, I’ve felt like an important part of this team ever since my first game against Sassuolo,” Perotti said.

“I didn’t play so much in the last six months of last season, but I stuck at it. I’ve always played regularly in my career – sometimes I’ve done well and other times my performances haven’t been so good, but I’ve always given it everything I’ve got.

“Between the last game of last season and the start of this campaign, this has been one of the best spells of my career and I’m delighted to get this reward.”

Perotti has certainly enjoyed a number of fine moments in his two years at the club so far: notably scoring in the last minute of the last game last season to confirm the club’s place in this season’s Champions League – and then scoring the only goal on Tuesday night as Roma qualified for the last-16 of the same competition.

When Perotti was substituted that night, his growing status at the club was confirmed as fans chanted his name as he walked off.

"I had been waiting for that moment for a long time,” Perotti admitted. “It had only happened to me before when I was at Genoa, because they never sang for me like that at Sevilla either. It was something I felt was missing.

“I know it’s a big thing when a legendary fanbase like Roma’s sings the name of a particular player. It was a wonderful feeling so I didn’t want to go off! I wanted to come back on so I could listen to it all again and again.

"I want to say a big thank you to all the fans because it was very emotional."

That affection from the fans is a result of Perotti's growing tendency to make vital contributions in important games.

This season alone he has helped beat Qarabag, see off Chelsea and break the deadlock against both Crotone and Lazio with vital goals.

"In terms of the best goal to watch, I think the Chelsea was a nice one," he added. "It came in a great match and secured the result. That said, I think I’ll remember the goal against Genoa [at the end of last season] for the rest of my career. It’s a shame it came against my old club as I’m still getting stick for it!

"But it wasn’t just because it took us into the Champions League. It was also about what that day represented. Francesco deserved a fitting farewell. If we had drawn we would have risked missing out on the Champions League.

"It was a fantastic goal to score for Francesco because he was my team-mate and I was lucky to play with the best player in the history of Roma. He deserved to bow out with a win so I think that’s definitely going to be the most important goal I ever score."

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