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    Belotti: "Delighted to be staying at Roma"

    Andrea Belotti was interviewed by asroma.com after renewing his contract. Here’s what 'Il Gallo' had to say.

    How happy are you to be signing a new deal until 2025?

    “It feels amazing. When I first came to Trigoria the magnitude of this team, the Romanisti, and the city of Rome really hit me. You have to be on the inside to fully experience this. I’m so proud to be part of the club. I see this contract extension as a logical continuation of the journey which I began here a year ago.”

    Is there anybody in particular who you’d like to thank?

    “I’d like to thank Tiago Pinto for giving me the opportunity to play for Roma, the coach and his staff for providing me the best conditions in which to work and showing faith in me, as well as my team-mates for making me feel part of the family from the get-go. 

    “I joined Roma just as the summer transfer window was closing so it could’ve been difficult to bed in. However the kindness and the willingness to help shown by my team-mates, who proved themselves first and foremost to be great people, allowed me to settle in quickly. The transition was seamless.”

    Let’s go back to the end of last season. You beat Spezia and in turn qualified for the Europa League, before you and the rest of the team went around the Olimpico to thank the fantastic Roma fans.

    “That match was crucial because it led us to reaching the Europa League. We were so close to winning it last season and I hope in 2023-24 we’ll be able to claim the trophy. 

    “Thanking our fans that day was the least we could’ve done for them, for all of their support and love they’ve given us in each and every game, be it in the Coppa Italia, Serie A or the Europa League. They’ve always made their presence felt both at every sold-out match at the Olimpico and on the road, including for the final in Budapest to which they came in huge numbers.”

    You were given a prolonged ovation by the fans when you came on in that match – what did that mean to you?

    “I think that our fans have taken on board the way I see and experience football, and how I give my all in every game. I sweat blood and tears and they appreciate that. All I can do is to try to repay the love they’ve shown for me by constantly attempting to up my performances, bettering myself every day in every regard.”

    Roma’s season was long and hard, but the squad revealed itself to be close-knit and solid, especially when the going got tough.

    “Indeed, the lads were always up to the task, through thick and thin, throughout the campaign. It goes without saying that the strength of this team is our unity. Every time a player ended up on the treatment table they’d give their heart and soul to get back into action as soon as possible. This is clear proof that each and every one of us is ready to put themselves on the line for Roma.”

    Do you feel like you’re part of a family?

    “I think that in both good times and bad we’ve always stuck by each other. I’d define Roma as a family because ever since I joined the club I’ve seen that this sense of togetherness isn’t just confined to the players – it includes the coaching staff, the physios, directors and kitmen. We’re a huge family in which everyone is willing to make their contributions.”

    You tried your hardest to be available for selection throughout the season, playing with a fractured hand and even a broken rib in order to help out your team-mates, in what was a tough period owing to the number of absences through injury and suspension.

    “I never thought twice about stepping up. It felt natural because my number one priority was to help out my fellow players, even if I was in pain, and that broken rib was especially difficult to bear.”

    Your attitude didn’t go unnoticed by Jose Mourinho.

    “The coach’s recognition of my endeavours meant a tremendous amount to me, because he truly realised the efforts I was making to help the team. 

    “The hug we shared at the Olimpico when I came off against Inter is something I’ll remember forever because it was borne out of love and sincerity. I was proud of myself for the sacrifice I showed and it also made me appreciate our coach even more, because aside from all of the trophies he’s won there aren’t many people out there with Mourinho’s human touch.”

    What contribution has the coach made to this team and to you personally? 

    “He’s a born winner. He hammers home the importance of succeeding and he instils a winning mentality for every game. He’s also got a great rapport with the lads. When you think that you’ll give 100% he’s capable of extracting an additional 30% out of you. He’s able to push your limits pretty far.” 

    There have been moments of disappointment, but never a feeling that the squad would just give up. This needs to be Roma’s approach for next season.

    “There have been times in which we’ve been despondent but we’ve never thrown in the towel. Even after losing the final in Budapest we didn’t let it get to us and we went on to win our final home game of the season in front of our fans. We’ll never succumb to feeling hopeless and resigned.”

    In Budapest, Bono denied you with a great save from what could’ve been a decisive goal. Do you see that final as another fork in the road? 

    “That would’ve been a perfect way to round off the season but unfortunately their keeper did a great job, he didn’t even let it go out for a corner. I’ve been left to imagine how things would’ve been had the ball gone in.”

    Luck wasn’t on your side in front of goal in 2022-23, but you must be driven to improve next time out.

    “In terms of stats it wasn’t a good campaign for me, but it is what it is. The only way to turn things around is by digging deep every day.”

    What will you never forget from your first season at Roma?

    “There are many things. One that sticks in mind which I’ll forever remember is the second leg at home of the Feyenoord tie. Their fans weren’t allowed to attend and so for the first time I saw the entire Olimpico in yellow and red. I can clearly recall when the anthem was played, seeing the whole stadium packed to the rafters. That moment gave me goosebumps.”

    What’s your favourite place in the city?

    “It’s easy to become attached to many places in Rome. There’s history everywhere. If you take a drive around you just won’t know where to look. What grips me most is the Colosseum. I’ve passed by there on various occasions since joining the club and I can’t help but stop and admire it. A stadium built 2,000 years ago - it’s quite something.” 

    Do you have any anecdotes related to the city or our fans?

    "Here’s one from the end of August last year, on the day I signed for the club. 

    “I’m staying at a hotel in town. I book a restaurant to celebrate joining Roma and I then call a taxi. The taxi arrives to pick the three of us up. I take a seat in the back. The taxi driver looks in the rear view mirror, recognises me and says to the person sitting in the passenger seat: “Get in the back so that the Rooster can sit next to me.” I then sit alongside him and we start talking about tactics, current and former footballers, what it feels like to be on the pitch, and every so often the taxi driver is like: “I can’t believe it, I’ve got the Rooster in my car!” When we get to our destination, we take a picture, he hugs me and says: “I have to tell you one thing – I’ve got so much respect for you, but I’m actually a Lazio fan… but I love you just the same."

    We’re fully aware that the dressing room is a sacred place, but is there a story you can tell us about your relationship with your team-mates?

    "Like you said, dressing rooms are sacred places. However, I’ll give you an anecdote of something which happened on the team bus. 

    “We were a few hundred metres from the stadium and the fans then surround us and bang on the bus out of excitement, to cheer us on. And although they weren’t aware at the time – the bus had tinted windows - this fired us up so much that we joined in with them. Our adrenaline levels were sky-high and we’d yet to even get to the Olimpico! Roma fans are just incredible.”

    Do you have a message for Roma fans?

    “I’d like to thank them for all the support that they’ve given us and which I’m sure they’ll always give for this club. All we can do is go onto the pitch with the sole aim of giving them joy, doing our best to conquer trophies and bring them happiness.”