On the eve of the transfer window closing, Emerson Palmieri became a Chelsea player. Having completed his move from the Italian capital to England’s, the 23-year-old left-sided footballer spoke for the first time to the official Chelsea website, answering questions about who he knows here, his development so far and his immediate future.
Here’s what he had to say…
Welcome to London and Chelsea. Have you been here before?
No, it is my first time here. From the little I’ve seen of the city it is really pretty. People have always spoken very highly to me of London. As for the club, it is absolutely sensational, one of the best clubs in the world so these are really happy times for me.
Even though you have not been here previously, you probably know a lot about us given we have Italian coaches, other signings from Serie A, Brazilian players…
Absolutely and of course that is something that is going to help me settle in better. The fact there is an Italian coach, the fact that I know some of the players, of course that is going to help.
Tell us about playing alongside Toni Rudiger in Italy.
Toni and I played for a couple of years together at Roma and they were great years. All I can say about him is that he is an extraordinary guy and a great player, and he has already shown that here at Chelsea, so I could not be happier to be back alongside him.
Have you spoken to him this week?
I had already spoken with him twice last week and today as well. When I arrived here in London, he was the first person I sent a message to say that I was in the house.
We are looking forward to seeing if you are as quick as him!
When we get out on the pitch, we will see!
It is good news for us that you did not play for Roma in the Champions League this season as it keeps you eligible for our matches, with a big one against Barcelona on the horizon…
Chelsea versus Barcelona is always a massive match and I remember watching that time when Chelsea won the Champions League and they eliminated Barcelona that season. Everybody saw them and it was a real spectacle so those matches are always huge and there are going to be two more like that this year. Let’s hope we can win.
Who did you look up to growing up in Brazil?
When I was little I had my heroes, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, I used to watch them play and that stirred my passion for football even more.
Have you met our Brazilian players?
No, I have not yet but everyone I have spoken to says they are really great guys and they are players I already admire a lot. Now we are here at the same club and so definitely we are going to have some great times together.
It is a wonderful football education, starting in Brazil and then playing in Italy…
Absolutely! I learned so much in Italy. Before I went there I used to be a player who just dribbled and shot at goal but what I saw there was that the tactical game can really help your performance. So now I am a better player and I think in some way that is because I managed to combine the two games, Italian and Brazilian.
Now I am definitely going to improve here at Chelsea under Antonio Conte. He is someone who has already shown that he is a great coach and everyone who plays with him improves, so I am coming to Chelsea with this perspective, that I am going to be playing with one of the best coaches in the world and I am going to get better.
How is your fitness after your injury? Are you ready to play games?
Yes, physically I feel great. The injury is now in the past, they were six difficult months for me but what is important is right now I feel good. I couldn’t feel better so I only have in mind the idea of training with my team and helping us to achieve more.