JTv: Hi Simone, thanks for joining us! Let’s start from the top, when did you first start really getting into football?
Simone: “I guess I was a bit of a late bloomer, I didn’t really start playing football with my friends until I was about 10 years old, before then I followed football because my dad was a big fan. So I have him to thank for getting me interested in the game, he’s been an important figure for me and my career.”
JTv: Which players did you dream of emulating when you played with your friends all that time ago?
Simone: That’s a difficult one. My dad was always a huge admirer of Marco Van Basten. Unfortunately, he had retired by the time I was starting out as a player myself and it was a shame that we never got to see him in the flesh together. If I had to choose one player, I’d go for him.
JTV: How did you feel when your move to Juventus had been confirmed? What aspect about the club struck you the most?
Simone: The moment I signed the contract and it began to dawn on me that I had joined Juventus, it was an unbelievable feeling. It’s tricky pinning down just one thing that hit me the most though. I guess I would have to say the setup of the club as a whole, I feel that I’ve settled in right away here and I’m very happy.
JTv: You couldn’t have got off to a better start in the black and white, scoring of course on your debut. Talk us through your emotions that day.
Simone: The feeling of scoring my first Juve goal was bittersweet. The moment the ball hit the back of the net I was delighted but on the other hand, we conceded a last minute equaliser (against Frosinone), so unfortunately I’ll remember the day more for that than the goal itself.
JTv: And you repeated the trick in the Champions League! What was going through your mind as you bore down on goal? You had plenty of time to think about it as you ran from the halfway line…
Simone: It was a special few seconds for me. Paulo (Dybala) did brilliantly to get the ball through to me in the first place and I think my desire to score such an important goal, on my Champions League debut as well, carried me all the way through to the edge of their box. We dominated the match but at 1-0 the points still weren’t safe so I was pleased that it was my contribution that sealed it for us.
JTv: You must have heard the famous Champions League anthem when you younger but did you ever expect to experience it yourself live as a professional?
Simone: I did! I had been to Champions League matches as a fan but it’s something else altogether being there as a player. To be honest, I don’t remember my emotions at that moment (when the anthem came on), it’s only afterwards once the adrenaline stops that you can really reflect on it.
JTv: As for Serie A, it’s been a tough start for Juve but the gap isn’t too big between us and the leaders at this early stage of the campaign…
Simone: Absolutely. We’ve had a slow beginning to the season but I think that’s normal when there are big changes to the squad. We’ve been lucky though, as you say, that even though we’ve dropped points ourselves, the title race is still very much open. The gap between us and the leaders can still be closed in a matter of games.
JTv: What kind of game are you expecting on Sunday against Atalanta?
Simone: I’ve faced Atalanta a few times. They’re a tough nut to crack because they are very well organised defensively so we’ll have to be patient and play with clear minds to break them down. Sunday’s match represents a great opportunity for us to get three points and starting climbing the table.
JTv: One last question for you, what was the main factor behind you deciding to become a Bianconero?
Simone: One of the main reasons for me coming here was my desire to win football matches, score as many goals as I can and to eventually lift trophies with Juventus.