Andrea Ranocchia says that being Inter captain is ‘unusual’, but a responsibility that he likes, as he explains the commitment to the club’s project.
The Nerazzurri’s new direction under Erick Thohir comes with a new captain in the 26-year-old, following Javier Zanetti’s retirement from playing at the end of last season.
“It is unusual, but I am getting used to it,” Ranocchia has reflected to Tuttosport on the new position within the team he has.
“It’s a big responsibility - previous issues in the team and in the dressing room and they would go to Zanetti and the more experienced players. Now I have to represent my teammates, on me they will place their issues and requests. It is up to me to talk to the technical staff and the club. It’s a role that I like.
“Zanetti is my model? Yes, Pupi, but also from the national team Buffon - Gigi is an example for his charisma and the way he carries the group.
“And without Zanetti and the senatori [experienced players] present? Their absence is felt in the dressing room. They had many victories on their shoulders and experience to offer.
“But now it is up to us to gather their teachings, convey the Nerazzurri’s ideals to newcomers and design a new Inter.”
It was put to Ranocchia that he will be remembered as the first captain of the club under foreign ownership, since Erick Thohir’s takeover.
“You know what I think? This is what Inter is - the badge. Inter are their fans, the emotions that they live. Inter are of everyone, not of Moratti or Thohir, but of the Nerazzurra people.”
Speculation through the summer has been on the club’s intent to sign the defender to a new contract.
“It lacks only the signature, we are at the bureaucratic aspect, but now it is all sorted out.
“When did I decide to stay at Inter? There was a specific day, but I will keep that to myself. Let’s say at the end of the season.”
Juventus have often been linked to Ranocchia.
“For the Press, yes [I have been close to Juve], for the past three years I have been sold to Juventus. From this summer, with the departure of Conte, my name ceased being placed alongside Juventus.”
The centre-back could still work with Antonio Conte, though, with the Italian national team.
“Conte is good, he has won the last three Scudetti. Tavecchio has made the best choice - the Coach will take the national team up to being among the best in the world.
“Personally the goal is to be there, but it will be the result of what I do with Inter.”
Ranocchia explained how work this summer has been under Walter Mazzarri.
“Mazzarri is one of the best Coaches, with him we can take the leap in quality. I have found him motivated, with more enthusiasm.
“Last year, in spite of the difficulties such as the change of ownership and the many expiring contracts, we finished fifth, which is an important result as we are now back in Europe.
“But it is clear that we want more. Mazzarri, I believe like all of us, has remained enchanted by the club’s project.
“This Inter has laid the base for a serious and strong future. This has been understood by everyone, from those who have remained and committed to Inter, agreeing to curtail important salaries.”