Shortly after completing his move to the Premier League champions from Italian side Torino, defender Davide Zappacosta sat down with the official Chelsea website.
The 25-year-old spoke of his joy at making the switch to Stamford Bridge as well as discussing Antonio Conte’s qualities and his hopes for the future…
HI DAVIDE. FIRSTLY, TELL US HOW THURSDAY WAS FOR YOU?
It’s been an unusual day but at the same time it’s the best day of my life. It’s a great opportunity for me to come to Chelsea and grow in my career. Obviously I’m ecstatic. Everything went well and I’m really happy to be here. I want to make the supporters very proud.
ANTONIO CONTE WAS THE FIRST MANAGER TO SELECT YOU FOR THE ITALY NATIONAL TEAM - HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW HIM AND HIS METHODS?
I know him a little. I trained with him for a few weeks when I played for the national team under him and from that small experience I gathered, he was a great manager who is always hungry for victory and wants to improve and progress, which is very good for the players because he can convey that philosophy to us.
TELL US ABOUT THE POSITIONS YOU PLAY ON THE PITCH.
Initially I started as a winger but I’ve been moved further back, playing as a more traditional full-back, and I can also play as a wing-back which seems to be the role which suits me best.
DO YOU THINK THE WAY YOU’VE PLAYED AS A WING-BACK IN A FIVE-MAN DEFENCE IN ITALY IS SIMILAR TO THE WAY CHELSEA AND CONTE LIKE TO PLAY?
There are similarities. I used to play in a 3-5-2 under Gian Piero Ventura at Torino and while it wasn’t exactly the same, I think I will find it quite easy to settle in and obviously there is time to learn.
YOU CREATED A LOT OF CHANCES FOR YOUR TEAM-MATES AT TORINO…
I usually do that with crosses from the right wing but to get that opportunity in the first place there has to be a lot of teamwork behind that. Once I’ve settled in at Chelsea I’m sure I’ll be able to work with my team-mates and create plenty of chances.
DID YOU WATCH MUCH OF CHELSEA LAST SEASON?
Yes, I followed the Premier League a lot. In Italy matches are played on Sunday so Saturday was free to watch the best games in the Premier League and most of the time it was Chelsea.
CHELSEA MUST HAVE BEEN A BIG STORY IN ITALY LAST YEAR GIVEN IT WAS CONTE’S FIRST SEASON IN CHARGE HERE AND A BIG SUCCESS…
Yes, there was a lot of talk about that in Italy last year, especially because he left there as a winning manager following a positive experience.
CHELSEA HAS A FANTASTIC HISTORY WITH ITALIANS, BOTH PLAYERS AND MANAGERS…
It’s very exciting to continue in that tradition and I would like to leave a big mark on the club and make the supporters very proud.
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN AN AMBITION OF YOURS TO PLAY IN ANOTHER COUNTRY?
Yes, it’s always been something I’ve thought about because I want to challenge myself with different types of football and styles of play. I’m very happy to be in the Premier League because I consider it to be one of the best – and most fascinating – leagues in the world.
YOU WILL ALSO HAVE THE CHANCE TO PLAY IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE…
I’m very excited about that because it’s every footballer’s dream to be a part of the Champions League. It will be a big challenge but I’m ready for it and I will do my best.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO LONDON BEFORE?
No, never, so this is a great opportunity for me to visit.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT PLAYING AGAINST ALVARO MORATA?
I don’t have very good memories because when I played against him in the Turin derby, Morata scored two goals for Juventus and we lost the game.
YOU MUST HAVE PLAYED AGAINST MARCOS ALONSO AND ANTONIO RUDIGER IN ITALY AS WELL…
Yes, I played against Alonso at different times and we were on the same wing so I got to see him close up. I played against Rudiger when he was at Roma but he was on the other side of the pitch so we didn’t really come into contact. They are both excellent players and they are doing very well for Chelsea.