Manolo Gabbiadini admits he ‘misses’ Italy, who have a “51 percent chance” in the World Cup playoffs, but believes Southampton can take him to Russia.
In the second half of his interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Gabbiadini revealed “it was an honour” to play for Napoli and that he “fell in love” with Bologna but lamented how he could not take his son to Serie A games “out of fear”.
“I spent an important part of my life at Napoli. I lived in Posillipo, a fantastic place,” continued the forward.
“I found a group of friends, such as the youth Coach Marco Ferrigno. It was an honour to wear the Napoli jersey.
“They play the best football in Serie A and are led by a great Coach. Sarri and Benitez are the best I’ve had, but I also have a good memory of working under Pioli and Mihajlovic.
“Bologna? I fell in love with this city for so many reasons. My breakthrough season came at Bologna, I met the woman who would become my wife there...
“It’s a beautiful city, where my passion for basketball exploded. I’m a Fortitudo fan. Their President came to see me at Southampton.
“A personality from Bologna? [Singer] Gianni Morandi. He often talked to us before matches.
“He was easy-going, a simple person. I’d love to have met Lucio Dalla, but I went there after he died.
“Will scoring for Southampton earn me a World Cup place? The World Cup is my objective. The Azzurri jersey is something truly special.
“Predictions against Sweden? 51% to us, 49% to them.
“I don’t want to think about an Italy team that aren’t going to a World Cup. It would be a disaster for my generation.
“Second place in a group with Spain is normal, but drawing with Macedonia at home isn’t. Still, I’ve read too much negativity and there’s sometimes too much of it in Italy.
“Do I miss Italy? I miss the weather, the beauty of our cities, friendships, but I’m happy with the choice I made: football in England is like a party.
“People go to the stadiums to have fun. It’s not the case in Italy. I have a two-year-old son and, as a father, I think it’s sad that I can’t take him to stadiums, out of fear that something might happen to him.”