Miralem Pjanic says he will tell his grandchildren he’s played with Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as he returns to Turin to face his former club Juventus in Champions League.
“I’m very happy to be here and to be back, it’s quite an emotional moment for me,” Pjanic said at a press conference attended by Football Italia.
“I spent here four years I have positive memories, I am glad to be back here and see people I had worked with, I am glad to see the team and the whole staff but now I am here to prepare a very difficult match against a tough opponent who want to rank first in the group stage, just like us, we want to be prepared.”
The former Old Lady’s star, however, is not a sure starter for tomorrow’s clash.
“Every time there is a match I want to play and I think it’s normal, at the moment I am still adapting, I arrived later than the others because of Covid, I am available to do what the coach want me to do, I think I can give an important contribution to this team.
“The only thing that matters to me is that the team do well in La Liga and in the Champions League, things in La Liga are not going exactly as we thought, it’s a long season we have to take one step at the time, now we focus on tomorrow’s match, I hope I can play.
“There is great competition between us [midfielders], you find that inside every great team.
“I am here to play and help my team, it’s quite normal that I am eager to play, but the others want the same, a decision is not up to me. I can train and do my best as I’ve been doing so far, then it’s up to the coach to decide.”
In Spain there have been lot of talks about Antoine Griezmann starting last weekend’s El Clasico on the bench.
“Griezmann is part of the team, he is a striker and wants to score goals but we have to accept the coach’s decisions even if sometimes we don’t like them. He’ll do well in the next match, as a forward he wants to score to feel really well. It will be important for him to start scoring goals and have a crucial role for the whole team, I hope everything will be all right.”
The 30-year-old has never played with Andrea Pirlo at Juventus but says he’d like to have him as a coach.
“I noticed that he is a coach that needs to adapt, as the players do. They get to know each other and find the right organization, Pirlo knows everybody here, I believe there are no problems from this point of view, I expect tomorrow’s game to be be difficult. I know Juventus’ mentality and it will be difficult to take points back home, it will be a tough match, we’ll need to score goals and bring points home, we both want to finish on top of the group stage.
“Obviously I would have liked to have Pirlo as a coach and have the possibility to play here with him as a coach but I have accepted this challenge and I am happy I have this opportunity. I moved to a different country with new teammates, it’s all new and it takes time to adapt. I hope I’ll be able to do great things and that supporters will appreciate.”
Pjanic is also one of the few players who got to play with both Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo although the Portuguese may skip tomorrow’s clash as he tested positive for Covid two weeks ago.
“I talked with Messi about the years I spent here, I spoke well about the club and the president. Nothing more than this, he is well informed, he knows Juventus very well.
“I have seen Juventus, there were different expectations but the beginning is always difficult because of injuries, there were some missing players and this new group needs time to develop and improve.
“It’s exceptional I could play with Messi and Ronaldo they are absolute phenomenon, it’s great to interact with them. I will tell my grandchildren they are among the strongest players of all time and that I’ve played with them both, not many players have done the same. Messi knows the [Ronaldo] situation very well, he watches the news, he is preparing for tomorrow’s game. I hope he will play a great match tomorrow.”