After announcing his retirement from football earlier this month, the club's Match Programme sat down with former defender Nicolas Burdisso to discuss his career with the Giallorossi.
The Argentine international joined the club in 2009, going on to establish himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A for a period before leaving in 2014.
Read the full interview with the 37-year-old...
Let's start at the end. What made you decide to call it a day?
“I wanted to compete – I wasn't looking to start over from scratch. I had some interesting offers but none of them convinced me completely, so in the end I decided to be true to myself and call it a day. I have no big regrets. I'm going to live in Turin for a year until I work out my future.”
What would you like to do?
“I want to stay in the game. I'm grateful to the world of football and I enjoy being a part of it. I don't mind the pressure – in fact, I like it. I've done a coaching course and we'll see if I can make it happen. I realised all my dreams as a player and that's why I'm calm.”
You had lots of different coaches throughout your career. Is there one in particular who was especially inspirational for you?
“It's hard to say. I learnt something from each and every one of them – be it dressing-room management or a tactical idea. I tried to make myself available to them all and always give everything I could.”
If you could choose to replay either the Serie A match against Sampdoria on 25 April 2010 or the Coppa Italia final on 26 May 2013, which you it be?
“Definitely the game against Sampdoria. Winning the league title – that league title – after all the work we put in that year would have been much bigger than winning a Coppa Italia, even if we did lose it to our local rivals. In 2001 I saw part of the Scudetto celebrations a few months afterwards when I came here with Boca for Roma's first match of the 2001-02 season. That was the game [Saliou] Lassisi got injured in too. I imagine the city spent the whole summer celebrating. Totally different from the Coppa Italia in 2013...”
Rudi Garcia joined Roma after that final.
“Rudi was the right man in the right place. He's an excellent man motivator and he managed to get the best out of all of us at what was a difficult time for the club. We won ten consecutive games at the start of the season and ended up finishing second. I decided to leave in January to join Genoa because I wasn't playing much but I didn't blame the coach at all since [Medhi] Benatia and [Leandro] Castan were in amazing form. Rudi often spoke to me, [Francesco] Totti and Maicon about how to win the league in Italy as we were the only ones who had done it before then.”
Were you disappointed to leave midway through the season?
“Yes, very. But it turned out to be the best for both parties. I continued my career elsewhere – playing well, as I knew I could – and Roma established themselves as a major Serie A force.”
What did Roma give you?
“It would be easier to say what Roma didn't give me. Roma gave me everything. It was here that I definitively established myself and was shown the faith I needed to prove myself at an even higher level. From a physical and tactical point of view, they were the best years of my life.”
You shared a dressing room with two club icons, Totti and Daniele De Rossi.
“They're both role models, albeit different. Francesco would lead you on the pitch with his exceptional footballing ability. Daniele did a brilliant job in the dressing room too and is very knowledgeable. They both brought different attributes to the table and complemented each other perfectly.”
Name the five best players you've ever played with.
“Leo Messi is the best of the lot, without a doubt. Then I'd say Juan Riquelme, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Francesco Totti and my idol Walter Samuel.”
“Yes, he was the player I looked up to at Boca. We played in the same position but he's three years older than me. He was an exceptional defender – as you guys at Roma know full well because he won the league here in 2001. I was lucky enough to become friends with him later and play alongside him.”
You've mentioned Carlos Bianchi before, but he wasn't a very popular figure at Roma...
“I know but in my eyes he was perhaps the best of them all. He gave me my professional debut and explained to me what to do on and off the field. He won three Copa Libertadores and three Intercontinental Cups. If he was successful for so long, there must have been a reason for it. His poor record at Roma shouldn't take away from the success he enjoyed elsewhere.”
Is it true you like writing?
“I do. I often write, both for personal reasons and for work. Sometimes I write down my thoughts on football and get others to read them. Football is constantly evolving and you have to keep up with everything. That will be the number one rule for my future too.”
Burdisso on his former Roma coaches...
Luciano Spalletti... “I only had him for two games, two defeats unfortunately. But I remember he was extremely tactically prepared."
Claudio Ranieri... “Incredible from a motivational perspective. He simplified football into a few key ideas, but when he spoke he lifted the team.
Vincenzo Montella... “We immediately realised he had interesting ideas for how to play. And he knew the atmosphere around the club, which was important
Luis Enrique... “One of the best coaches I’ve had. He knew how to work out on the pitch, and a great charisma. I will go to Spain to learn from him in the near future.”
Zdenek Zeman... “He had very clear ideas. We were a fun team, we scored a lot, but we were open at the back too.”
Aurelio Andreazzoli... “He was a real football man, he lived and breathed it. He got good results, even if we lost that final.”