Teammates in Argentina and opponents on Saturday, Atalanta’s Maxi Moralez has defended Fiorentina’s Santiago Silva’s poor start to life in Serie A.
The duo spent over a year together playing in the Argentine League for Velez Sarsfield and both played a key role in guiding their club to a League title in 2011.
Form during this time prompted Atalanta to pay the €8m buy-out clause on Moralez’ contract and Fiorentina to pay the €1.73m buy-out clause on Silva’s contract, bringing them both to Serie A.
However, where Moralez has settled into life and continued his club form in Bergamo, Silva has struggled to impress in Florence. In preparing to greet his old club colleague at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in this Saturday’s League fixture between their two current teams, Moralez has taken the time to speak up for Silva.
“It is hard when you come over here to play, especially for him as he has found himself in a strong team with many attackers.
“Silva has had a difficult start but as far as I know he is a great player and will give a big hand to Fiorentina. I will talk to him at the end and we will exchange shirts.
“Fiorentina are a strong team with good players, which is why I think he will soon adapt to the Italian championship.”
Moralez also reflected on his own, more successful adaptation to Italian football.
“Coming from a different league, to a better one, I have come into one of the most prestigious in the world, the Italian one.
“Sometimes [adapting] can take a lot more ‘heart’ and this is the biggest difference between the two. I am finding myself at ease within this club, with the city and the fans, who are treating me well.
“I am learning Italian but it takes time to improve and I think I will in the next year. The Bergamo dialect, however, is too difficult to learn.
“I like Bergamo because it is quiet. Buenos Aires is much more passionate - for a player it is good to know that we can work with peace of mind, not to mention that my girlfriend is happy.”
Curiously, Silva shares the same nickname as German Denis, ‘Tanque’, and whilst he has only good things to say of Silva, Moralez made sure there was no confusion when asked which Tanque he felt was better.
“Our Tanque is the best, he is the top scorer in the League and is crucial for us. If he continues then we hope he can reach 20 goals. Against La Viola I hope to find suitable spaces to express my football.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition  - £11,000 to be won monthly!