Jonathan de Guzman has explained why he chose to sign for Napoli this summer, suggesting Rafa Benitez’s presence was important.
The Netherlands international midfielder completed a move to the Vesuviani last week and today was officially presented to the media.
First question of the day was on his new side’s focus this week, of progression to the group stages of the Champions League, as they face a key second leg Play-off round clash away to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
“First of all I am happy to be here, to be part of the project at Napoli,” De Guzman began in front of reporters.
“I already feel welcome, whilst the next few days will be important for the team, the city and the fans.
“I am sorry I cannot be in the field, but there are so many good players that will be. Hopefully we can secure a good result.”
De Guzman has experience of playing away to Athletic Bilbao from his time with Real Mallorca and Villarreal in La Liga.
“San Mames has a very big atmosphere, it is difficult to play there. The fans are passionate, they will give support to their team. But Napoli can do well, we are confident.”
The 26-year-old reflected on why he decided to move to Napoli, after two years in the Premier League with Swansea City, and back this summer on the books at Villarreal.
“I thought that this is the right decision. I can learn so much here. Napoli is a great place, and for me this is an honour.
“Napoli are a great club with a great history, here I have the chance to play in the Champions League and I hope to do that.
“Italian football fascinates me, Napoli have been at the top in recent years. I have played in Holland, Spain and England, I wanted a new experience.
“Our targets? We aim to do well in all competitions, whilst the ambition is to play in the Champions League.
“Napoli can finish top of the table, I would like to provide my contribution. I hope to be a part of this team for a long time.
“The Scudetto and the rivalry with Juventus? The League is important, whilst since I have arrived I have heard a lot about the rivalry with the Bianconeri.
“Now, though, we are thinking of progressing further in the Champions League.”
The Canadian-born footballer also faced a number of questions on his preferred playing position.
“My position is as that of a playmaker, but at the moment I am also considering other possibilities with Benitez. I am at his disposal.
“I have spoken to Benitez, I have expressed my preference. We will evaluate many possibilities, I could play in midfielder. I like to play in the middle, but Rafa will decide.
“Benitez is a great Coach in the game, he has coached great clubs and of course Napoli is no exception.
“Certainly his presence here has influenced my decision to choose Napoli, whilst he also knows how to play well. With him I can learn so much.”