Ashley Cole says the promise of Champions League football and the indications of an ambitious club convinced him to join Roma.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea defender completed formalities earlier this month on a Bosman move out to the Giallorossi and, after checking in for the start of preseason today, was presented to the media at Trigoria.
“I decided to come here in order to continue to play in the Champions League at a great and ambitious club,” Cole has explained to gathered reporters.
“This is a great challenge and I am ready, I am ready to fight for a place in the team and to try to win.
“Were there issues at Chelsea with Jose Mourinho last season? I’ve always had a good relationship with Mourinho, then as the years have gone by I was probably not as useful to Chelsea and my agent told me of the chance to come to Roma.
“There were discussions with the staff, I saw how much the club wanted me and that considered me useful to their project and I jumped at the opportunity.
“I arrive at an ambitious club and hope to win here. Now it is premature to compare [Mourinho and Rudi Garcia], perhaps in six months it will be possible with a full knowledge of the club.
“What makes a good Coach? A good Coach is good in the management of his men, he gives all of his players the desire to fight until the last.
“During my career I have had great Coaches like Wenger, Mourinho and Scolari and I am certain that at Roma it will be the same.
“I do not fear the pressure to win because I spent 14 years in England always fighting for a starting spot and that’s what I want to continue doing.
“It is a special atmosphere, I immediately realised the passion of the people for their love of this club.
“But this is also the reason why I am here, to experience these emotions and enjoy the city and this experience.”
Cole is the only Englishman in Italy’s top flight and one of few from Britain to make the journey abroad in recent years.
“Maybe British players are a little afraid to move abroad, they are accustomed to British culture and it is convenient to stay at home.
“As soon as I had this opportunity I was glad to get out of London, to face a new language and a new culture.
The 33-year-old was asked if in coming to Serie A he considered the current issues of racism in the stands.
“I’ve answered this question several times. It is difficult to answer but, personally, I was involved in an episode when playing with England against Spain.
“We must act decisively, but it is not for me to say what sanctions are to be imposed. I just want to play football and I prefer to stay out of these decisions.”
One of the first questions the full-back faced was on England’s World Cup campaign, which came after his omission from the squad and subsequent international retirement.
“I saw the matches and this time as a fan. It was a squad with many young players who had the opportunity for experience and to grow.
“Thing went less well than we had hoped but they have had an experience that will be useful on their return.
“There was a positive note, the future is bright.”
Cole was talking after a first training session at Trigoria with his new teammates.
“I’m good, I feel fit, I have yet to recover to my best condition, which is normal at this point of the season.
“The first training session went well, it was an initial session to reactivate the system.
“Next week we will travel out to the United States and once we return from there we will be in good condition.”
Picture source: @OfficialASRoma