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    Azmoun: “These fans are incredible"

    Sardar Azmoun has won everyone over. With his quality as a skilful, versatile forward on the pitch, and his kind, dignified personality off it.

    He's slotted into the Giallorossi squad with ease and looks like someone he's been in Rome for years. And he wears a perennial smile. Even when he turns up for this interview, weary from the exertions of “a nice, long training session”.

    Are you tired?

    “A bit, yeah. As you can see, I'm still in my shorts. We've only just finished. But I'm happy that things are going well for us at the moment.”

    You seem to have settled into the group really well now. You're always joking around with everyone – both in real life and on social media.

    “Yes, I feel at home here. I get on well with everyone. In our dressing room we have World Cup winners and world-class players but everyone's down to earth. It's easy to get along with the others.”

    How much did the captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini, help you settle in at the beginning?

    “Loads. He's a great guy who's always helping everyone. Lorenzo is a great captain, not just a fantastic footballer.”

    Against Torino you started your first game at the Olimpico. What was that like?

    “I looked at all those people at the stadium at 6:30 pm on a Monday and I wondered what job they do! But actually I think the time is minor detail. We'd have had the same number of fans even if the match had been at 8 am.

    “Honestly, the fans here are incredible. They fill the stadium for every game, Inter, Torino or whoever, it makes no difference. They're always right behind us. All we can do is thank them and hope that they never stop. They're so important to us.”

    What did the coach, Daniele De Rossi, ask you to do before the Torino game? He had plenty of praise for you afterwards.

    “When we look at the game with the match analyst, the boss gives us a few tactical pointers. It's up to us to take them on board and put them into practice during the game. It went well that time. We won the game and got the three points.”

    On the subject of match analysts, the Italian league is one of the most tactical around. You've played in Russia, Germany and now Serie A. What differences have you noticed between the various leagues?

    “Serie A and the Bundesliga are very competitive. There might be some differences in terms of physicality or speed, which is why some players might fare better in one or the other, but they're both top level.”

    Did you ever meet Rudi Voeller while you were at Bayer Leverkusen? He's a Roma legend and he was De Rossi's idol as a kid.

    “Yes, I saw him a few times. He's a great person and an excellent football director. Besides having been a fantastic player back in the day too. He won the World Cup with Germany in 1990.”

    You said you used to watch Roma games on TV in Iran when you were a boy. Apart from Francesco Totti and De Rossi, who were your favourite players?

    “Apart from Totti and De Rossi! Even my mum knows them and she knows they were massive Roma legends. I liked Mirko Vucinic a lot too.”

    He was a similar sort of striker to you – fast and skilful.

    “Mmm, he was better though...”

    We'll see. Any others?

    “My attention was always drawn to the strikers, as that's where I play. [Edin] Dzeko and [Gabriel] Batistuta, although from different eras obviously, were two players I greatly admired.”

    And what's it like being coached by De Rossi, another Roma legend, as you said?

    “What surprises me most about De Rossi is that when you look at him from the outside, as a player, you saw a fighter, a battler who would spit blood on the pitch.

    “When you see him on a day-to-day basis, he's kind, polite, good-natured. It's nice tosee and even better to have someone like that as a coach. He was the right choice. I also like the general feeling that's been created here.”

    What do you mean?

    “The sense of unity. The owners, Lina [Souloukou] and the management are always very close to the team. It helps a lot and makes it easier for us to obtain the results we're achieving now.”

    We saw Ryan Friedkin get off the bus at the Olimpico before the game against Feyenoord.

    “That's true but it happened other times as well, like against Torino. It's really nice. We want to keep going with the same spirit. We still have a lot of work to do, both in Serie A and in the Europa League. One step at a time, though. Starting with Monza on Saturday. We're preparing for it in training and that's all we're thinking about now.”