Saturday February 22 2014
Gervinho: 'I am free at Roma'

Gervinho revealed the secret of his success at Roma compared to Arsenal. “I can be free with my football.”

He is expected to start tonight in Bologna-Roma at 19.45 GMT. Click here for a match preview.

The Ivorian looks a different player to the one who struggled in the Premier League and has credited his change of form to a reunion with Coach Rudi Garcia, who already worked with him at Lille.

“Every experience has been positive and I appreciated all the different cultures I saw in my travels,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.

“I can confirm I feel more at home at Roma than elsewhere. I was adopted by the club, the staff and the fans. From the first day I sensed this great atmosphere.

“Garcia has grown even more since I last worked with him. The title victory at Lille made him even more ambitious. I already knew his qualities and that he’d reach a big European club. He knows he needs to get results straight away and therefore demands the most from everyone.

“Garcia has a very special style. He often tells me that he knows my qualities better than anyone else. There are many players with talent, but it is important to find a Coach who knows how to make the most of that.

“Rudi was very good with me in that sense. He knows how to do what is best for the team and, at the same time, to let me be free with my football.

“I come from the streets with a family of 12 children. I put who and what I am into my football.”

Gervinho also likes to spend his spare time watching the sport, although he often faces a fight for the remote.

“I watch everything, the Leagues in Italy, France, England and Spain. I learn many things from watching the other matches, at least when I can get the TV off my kids. For them it’s only ‘Kirikou and the Sorceress’ – they must’ve seen that film 200 times.”

Roma look as if they’ll play next week’s home game against Inter with three sections of the stadium closed due to anti-Neapolitan chants. These are penalised using the same rules introduced to combat racism and punish ‘territorial discrimination.’

“I really didn’t understand what that meant at first and asked for some explanations. There can well be rivalry between cities for years, but football must bring joy. It is an emotional experience for me to see the flags waving and hear the crowd call your name.

“I’d love to send a message to the Roma fans: we need you and we miss you. You are precious for us in every match.”

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