Daniele Rugani “could not be more excited” to stand in for Giorgio Chiellini in the Juventus defence against Ajax and is happy to have turned down a Chelsea move.
The first leg of the Champions League quarter-final kicks off in Amsterdam on Wednesday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).
Rugani’s presence at the Press conference suggests he will be in the starting XI to replace injured Chiellini, while Emre Can has also been ruled out of the trip.
“We all know how important Giorgio is for the team. I’ll give my best to ensure he is not too badly missed,” said the Italy international.
“I am experiencing this with enthusiasm, as it’s a moment you dream of since childhood. I could not be more excited to play this game, as it’s the kind of event you really want to take part in.
“You play football for moments like this and I am trying to relish every instant of it, from now to kick-off tomorrow.”
Ajax eliminated holders Real Madrid from the Round of 16 and got through a group with Bayern Munich.
“We know Ajax have technique, quality and stamina. We need a solid and focused performance, as the tie is decided over two legs. Ajax have great strength in attack, but we also realise they can be hurt in defence, so we’ll try to use that knowledge tomorrow.
“It’s a very important match for me and for the club, but I hope it is a starting point and not the culmination. I intend to prove that I deserve to play in these games.”
Rugani was asked if he could see Matthijs de Ligt as a future teammate at Juventus.
“I’ve played against him at international level too, it’s always good to have strong teammates, but Ajax have many talented young players and it’s natural there is a lot of transfer speculation around them.”
The Italian had been heavily linked with Chelsea over the summer, but only last week signed a new Juventus contract.
“It was what both parties wanted. In the summer, despite some rumours, things didn’t go through, so I am happy we reached this agreement together. It’s a good sign that makes me proud and happy.
“I am happy with the choice I made. It has been my choice for a few years now, I am in a team of champions and realise it’s difficult to find space, but it’s worth a lot more than playing anywhere else. I will continue along this path as long as both parties want to continue.”
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