Marco Verratti claims he was “born to play football, as my feet start doing things by themselves,” but admits he ought to score more goals.
The PSG midfielder sat down with RMC Sport in France to discuss his playing style and career, just days after captaining Italy for the first time in a 5-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
“I’d rather concede a goal than just hoof the ball upfield without a clear idea of who I’m passing it to. I just hate that, I can’t do it and I won’t do it,” said Verratti.
“It’s hard to explain. I just think some people were born to play football, so your feet start doing things by themselves. You might think I’m crazy for saying that, but sometimes I don’t even realise I’m doing it.
“I have my own way of playing, so I try to follow that and not to change things too much. I’ve been fortunate to have Coaches who see football the same way as I do, who want possession and try to let me go with my instinct. I really like the role I have in the team.”
It certainly allows him to break away from the pressing game of opposition midfielders.
“I believe if you just create a little bit of space, you can make a good pass. The best way of doing this is to constantly look around and see where my teammates are, so by the time the ball reaches me, I already know what I have to do. It helps me to think and act faster, follow my instinct.
“The fact I’m quite short is helpful, as it means I can turn quickly and protect the ball, but I’m always looking for where to place the pass behind the defenders.
“Today’s football is a lot more physical and it might not be spectacular at times, but I maintain if a team plays good football, it has a better chance of winning the game. You can play badly and win a couple of times, but not in the long run.”
Verratti has often been accused over the years of not scoring enough goals.
“I’m not Roberto Carlos, but I do have a decent shot. Sometimes I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do and prefer to pass it to a teammate in a better position, because he’s more likely to score than me from 30 metres out.
“It’s not my main role, but people do tell me to score more goals and I would like to find the net a little more often.”
The other criticism of Verratti is that he gets far too many yellow and red cards, often for protesting.
“I do think we stop play too often in France, the referee whistles every 20 seconds and it makes it too slow for the spectators. I think they are harder because they know it’s me and I have a reputation.”
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