Entrevista de Cristante ao site Vivo Azzurro na íntegra
Como eu acho que a grande maioria dos leitores deste blogue não dominam italiano (desmintam-me se quiserem) transcrevo a entrevista de Cristante ao Vivo Azzurro na versão em inglês.
"He has the same first name as a player who scored a decisive header against Italy almost three months ago. We are referring, of course, to Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz. Hopefully, Bryan Cristante’s feet and head will bring joy to the Italian national team instead. The midfielder, who has recently joined Benfica, talked exclusively to VivoAzzurro from the Under-20s’ training camp.
Let’s start with something different: Bryan is not a very common name for a young man from Pordenone… Why did your parents choose that name?
It was just their choice, there is no special reason. My father was born in Canada and lived there for a while too. As a matter of fact, I have two passports, the Canadian one as well. So, they decided to call me that…
If I say 6th December 2011, what comes to your mind?
My very first game in AC Milan first team [in the Champions League against Viktoria Plzen], which was a great experience for me. It was the beginning of it all. I barely even realised that I was making my Champions League debut – I was only 16… The fact that it happened with a team like AC Milan helped me a lot. I have collected more experience since that day and now here I am.
You made your Serie A debut at the Bentegodi Stadium against Chievo last year. You came on for a world-class player such as Kakà. What kind of differences are there between those two debuts?
The Champions League debut was kind of like a ‘prize’. We had already qualified for the next stage and our coach granted me that ‘gift’. At the time of my Serie A debut, I was already part of the first team and I was used to training with them, so it was somehow more important. I was more conscious.
What kind of pressure does a young player feel by wearing important jerseys like those of AC Milan and Benfica?
You have to be aware that you are part of a winning team that is used to winning leagues and cups. Nevertheless, you have to avoid overemphasising that aspect. You just have to stay calm.
Let’s talk about your participation in last season’s UEFA Youth League. One of your goals scored in FC Barcelona was voted by UEFA amongst the five best…
I did not know about that… The other teams had more experience. I do not know why. Maybe it’s because they organise the whole football regime differently abroad, with reserve sides and special youth leagues in England and Spain. But Italian teams did well too. AC Milan lost to Chelsea in the last 16. It was a good experience nonetheless.
Who is the best player you faced in that competition?
I only played against Barcelona, so I have to say Sanabria, the player who was recently signed by AS Roma. He scored a brace against us in the first leg.
What about the youth national teams? Who are the best players you have trained with?
I have been playing for the national team since the U15s. I had the opportunity to train with many players, most of them very good. You don’t play for the national team if you’re not good. Some of them play in Serie A now, some others in Serie B… I really don’t know who to name…
Who is your idol, or did you have a role model?
To be honest, I have never had an idol. I have always looked at all great players who played in my position, trying to “steal” something from all of them. There has never been one special player who inspired me the most. If we talk about our national team, I will say Pirlo of course. He is one of the best midfielders in the world.
Central midfielder or inside forward: There were many discussions about your position. Which one do you prefer?
I feel good playing both positions, it makes no big difference to me. It always depends on each player’s characteristics. For my way of playing, it does not change a lot.
How important is the Azzurri shirt to you? Do you sing the national anthem before games?
Yes, I sing it. I love being part of a national team like Italy, which is rich in tradition. We are one of the most important national teams in the world.
There has to be a question about your new club. Benfica were determined to sign you. What about you? Why did you choose Benfica?
They wanted to sign me and I thought it was a good solution. They have tradition, they take part in the Champions League and they are always amongst the top three teams in Portugal. I chose 24 as my shirt number because I had it at Milan as well. It was available, so I decided to stick to it.
As he gets up, we ask him whether he is scared of the Bela Guttmann “curse”. Before leaving Lisbon, the former Benfica coach said that the team would never ever win a European Cup without him. Since then, Benfica have lost five Champions League finals, plus two Europa League finals in the last two seasons. Cristante simply smiles about it. He does not feel the pressure of the Champions League, let alone a curse."