Flamengo midfielder Gerson admits he ‘wasn’t ready’ for Serie A but credits Stefano Pioli for helping him become a ‘much more complete’ player.
Gerson struggled in his three seasons with Roma, playing just 42 times between 2016 and 2019, but has reinvented himself since joining Flamengo, winning the Copa Libertadores last year.
“I built this new beginning in Italy, from my second season at Roma to be precise,” he told Globo Esporte.
“I went where my hero Totti played. I received great praise and there were high expectations of me: this sometimes distracts you from your objectives.
“I didn’t play much and felt I had to reinvent myself: I started training at home, I paid more attention to every detail: marking, positioning… I accepted I still wasn’t ready.
“At Roma, I asked the coaches and assistants to let me study new roles. From there, I started playing in multiple positions.”
The 23-year-old spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Fiorentina, playing under Milan boss Pioli.
“At Fiorentina with Stefano Pioli, I played as one of the two in a 4-2-3-1 and sometimes even as a ‘regista’ when there were three of us.
“There, I learned the things that I now consider most important to develop: intensity without the ball and being involved for 90 minutes, even if you don’t have the ball.
“I only played to score goals or provide assists, but I realised I could influence the game even without the ball and I’m glad: I feel much more complete now.
“I also owe [Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus] a lot. One of my objectives now is to wear the jersey of the Brazilian national team.”