Friday Apr 20, 2018  
  09/10/2011: Sabatini: I will hever hide my past at Lazio
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“I have slight concern, a feeling. It is inappropriate to call it a normal game. Even if it is not against Lazio I have crossed with Palermo several times. I have lost and won, but the derby is a different game. When we get closer to the game I will not look at the ranking. I totally sucked in by the feelings” – said the former Lazio and now Roma Sporting director Walter Sabatini for Corriere dello Sport. He doesn’t hide that red and yellow was Biancocelesti before: “I was a Laziale and I say it with unwavering faith in that historical moment of my life. It’s my past and I don’t deny it. I didn’t do it when I was introduced to the romanisti, I will not do it in the eve of the game, even when Roma is a matter of chemistry for me. It was not hard for me to reignite the spark; it’s a kind of dive in that universe. To tell the truth I still have to decipher the universe of the Roma player”. Sabatini then spoke about the upcoming derby and the uneasy situation the Roma team is in: “It comes with a moderate peace of mind because we have adjusted some things in the past couple of days and others must be adjusted to be competitive. I already feel Roma strong; I feel that a group of people are putting energy, strength and ideas within this project”. The two capitol teams had one of the best transfers and Sabatini pointed that: “Lazio have worked very well. They made choices and the target is immediate results, but I do not want to say its going to happen this and next season. Roma have tried to integrate some youngsters into the core of the team. From this synthesis between the old and the new we hope to produce an acceptable result for this season and a great one for the next. Lazio have made important choices. Watching them today with Klose and Cisse – two not so young playes - they are like two kids. They show freshness, enthusiasm and are competitive. They impressed me. Also there are other reliable players. The only bet is Lulic. He is contradictory”. Then the sporting director for Roma continued: “I have to make a special speech about the three of them (Klose, Cisse and Hernanes). All three of them are carriers of all technical-tactical knowledge of football. You have the power, the opportunism and then you have the technique. Football is represented in all forms therefore I fear them”. Then Sabatini moved on Reja: “He was the right coach for Lazio. If he will be the right coach for them will depend in his luck and not his qualities, which are known”.

Walter Sabatini talked also about his transfers at Lazio: “There are so many. Seeing the level on which Stefano Mauri plays makes him happy. I could say the same for Rocchi and Ledesma. I’m proud of Diakite, he’s always there to do the job, has a lot of room for improvement and cost very cheap. I could say Kolarov also seeing the sport and business outcome of this transfer. I keep good memories from Lazio. We have, I don’t say I, because I don’t want to insult Lotito, in other times and demands achieved great results. The first year with Rossi in the Champions league, despite the point deduction penalty, the market, the loan deals, the salary cap. I accept the criticism of the protesters, but it would be better to the history of Lazio”. During his time at Lazio Sabatini made some good transfers, but there were also bad ones: “Carrizo. He’s a very good goalkeeper. His purchase came after collective hypnosis. I take the full responsibility. Peruzzi stopped playing football. He himself, after seeing Carrizo, pointed him as one of his possible successors. It seemed we couldn’t play football without him. We gave up on Lloris already taken for 2 million based on this hypnosis”. But Sabatini protects the goalkeeper: “He’s not old, last season there was a petition from the River plate fans to hold him there. A couple of bad decisions at the end of the season and his situation became unclear. But he’s strong and I know he will bounce back”. Then Sabatini spoke on his other good transfers: Lichtsteiner, Radu and Kolarov: “The Swiss and the Serb are two spectacular transfers, which have produced technical and economical satisfaction. On Lichtsteiner I only gave my opinion, because I was already out of Lazio. Radu I discovered when we played against Dinamo Bucharest in the Champions League, he impressed me. And above all he impressed Delio”. During his time at Lazio as sporting director Sabatini has two derby wins: 3:0 and 3:2: “I have an important memory of the first one. At that time Ledesma was overwhelmed by boos and protests. On Saturday after finishing at Formello I found myself sitting next to Cristian. I told him not to worry and some day he will fire a torpedo in to the top corner or he will play a game that will make the crowd at Olimpico to stand up and applause. The next evening when I saw Ledesma firing a shot in the top corner to break the deadlock I seemed to be a very lucky man”. The old disagreements with Lotito continue today: “I haven’t felt it for a long time. I think he is angry with me. It was my fault. We had a discussion last year and the relationship cooled, although I still have affection for him and I think he is the president of the difficult things. Fortunately Lazio needed a president, who could handle difficult things. He must learn to handle thing a bit easier than he’s doing. He must deliver the team to the people. A club is not the president, but the people who love it”.

Sabatini also spoke on the Zarate case: “Some may say Lazio is better, because they have better atmosphere in the locker room. Zarate can overturn any game at any time, even when he comes off the bench. The attack was strong; Lazio had made a strategic choice, not a technical one”.

Di Benedetto has reached out to Lotito to work together for the Olimpico. “Di Benedetto has been put into a listening position, interlocutor of all in order to understand all the reality that surrounds him. Then he will proceed to the next selection based on that what he has felt and evaluated” – finished Sabatini.

(Georgi Angelov)

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