Bertolacci: “I have a good relationship with Gattuso, I didn’t play last year because of a choice made by the club”

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Andrea Bertolacci during Sampdoria training. (@sampdoria.it)

Andrea Bertolacci has spoken about his switch to Samp, after leaving Milan as a free agent at the end of the last season.

Gennaro Gattuso chose to keep Bertolacci in the squad last summer, but eventually never used him and Andrea, despite being fit, spent the entire campaign on the bench of the Rossoneri.

The contract of the Italian midfielder, who joined the club in 2015 for 20m from Genoa, expired on June 30. After a whole summer as a free agent, Bertolacci signed this month for the struggling Sampdoria, who sit at the bottom of the table after 7 rounds.

“The Sampdoria fans are unhappy with my Genoa past and the Genoa fans are unhappy with me going to Samp? I have to be honest, I’ve met several Genoani but I was impressed: nobody included me, just a few teases that were there,” Bertolacci told Friday’s Il Secolo XIX Genova. “I think the understood that I gave everything for the Genoa shirt when I was wearing it, but I am a professional and now it’s right that I give everything for the team that wanted me more now.

“If I think the Doriani fans will forgive my Rossoblù past? I hope and indeed I’m sure that they will let the field speak as it should be for those who do my job. I already know this city and I know that the fans, on both sides, always appreciate those who give everything for the shirt. I am now wearing the one of Sampdoria and I’ll do everything I can to honor it.

Andrea Bertolacci and Gianluca Caprari during Sampdoria-Genoa at at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on April 7, 2018. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)

“At the very least I have to do better than Saponara who did the reverse path? [Smiles] The idea is always to do well, of course. I think Italian football needs to evolve a bit from a cultural point of view because while there’s a rivalry between two city teams, it’s also important that we players, who are professionals, can move from one side to another.

“What effect does it have on me that Massimo Ferrero asked for me personally? For me it’s stimulating, when a President tells you to come then it’s a sign of esteem. To think that everything was born by chance years ago on a plane going to Rome, that’s where he promised me… What’s the story? It’s fate: one day I take a plane to Roma and on the same line there’s Ferrero. We started talking during the trip and he told me that he loved me and that ‘one day I will take you to Samp’. It was a word, now here I am.

Andrea Bertolacci during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)
Andrea Bertolacci during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“I almost found myself at Sampdoria with Gattuso, who didn’t let me play at Milan last year? I knew before signing that I could find myself with Gattuso, but I wouldn’t have any problem. In fact, maybe here I’d always play. I have a good relationship with him, we were always talking to each other clearly and he wanted me at Milan.

“Why didn’t I play? My contract was going to expire, it was more a choice of the club. I talked about it with Gattuso and I realized that it was not his doing. I also trained all year with a smile, I never argued with him. I had excellent relationships with everyone. Anyways, it’s a closed chapter and I look forward.

Andrea Bertolacci during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“How am I doing considering my last start was in the Europa League in November almost a year ago? I’ve stopped, I’ve always trained. Of course, I lack a bit of rhythm but these are things that if you’re well then you can find quickly.

“If there are Sampdoria players I already knew? I worked with director of sport Carlo Osti and with Eusebio Di Francesco at Lecce at the beginning of my career, even if in the end I didn’t even get to meet Di Francesco here [he was sacked and replaced by Claudio Ranieri]. I’ve already played with Manolo Gabbiadini, Gianluca Caprari and Vasco Regini. There’s a good, united group.

“One of the qualities I can bring to the table is personality as the team is light in character? I also talked about it with the club before arriving, that is to say that I’d like to give my contribution in the middle of the pitch but also in the dressing room. I think I’ve done a good path with more than 200 appearances in Serie A, I think I can have my contribution.

Andrea Bertolacci before Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on November 25, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“How is Ranieri doing? Very well, he was very clear with us players like with you journalists: he wants players who give everything in training and leave the pitch exhausted. Then you can win or lose, but only if you give everything then you have a better chance of winning. Where can I play in a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-4-2? I’ve played everywhere: as a mezz’ala, in front of the defense, in the two in the middle… wherever the coach asks me, I’m ready.

“When I give quality and quantity, in both phases, and I will leave the field exhausted then I’m sure that all the fans will be with ‘Andrea Bertolacci’.”

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Milan10

rino IS limited coach but do u expect me to believe that he, a proud milanista and pro coach, didnt play u because the mgmt forced him not to? laughable.
get it straight berto, u didnt play because u must’ve sucked in training and, judging from what little i’ve seen of u, u also sucked on field

Nino

Exactly. I mean he was so good that management mandated Rino not play him and also made sure no club thought him worth buying – even as a free agent – until the mercato closed. That way, he’s desperate to accept any shit wage offered him, being clubless with the season is underway.

Ewaen

You didnt play because you were not good enough. He should Stop this cheap excuse and looking for cheap sentiments from fans. Could you have benched Bakayoko who was arguably our best midfielder, or Paqueta, or Kessie. Just face your new club and try to improve there. You won’t get the pity you are looking for from us

Donadoni

Being able to pass to a teammate might also have help you with playing time. I can’t believe we paid that sort of money for him, let alone sign him.

Raven

Never understood his approach, like always avoiding the ball and too weak when on it. Good luck Berto