Saturday February 22 2014
Diamanti: 'Guangzhou revelation'

Alessandro Diamanti is impressed with his first match for Guangzhou Evergrande and confident he won’t miss out on an Italy call.

The forward completed his transfer for a reported €9m after the January transfer window had closed and yesterday played his first friendly game.

“I only played a friendly, but the team is very strong, runs hard and has an attacking idea of football,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It is a very tactical and technically-gifted approach, which is thanks to the Coach Marcello Lippi. I hadn’t met him before, but it feels as if I’ve known him forever. Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo told me great things about Lippi and his winning mentality.”

Diamanti is not concerned that playing in China will see his chances of a call-up for the 2014 World Cup diminish.

“I came here to play consistently, while Cesare Prandelli already knows what I can do. I still believe in my World Cup chances. I spoke to him before leaving and I’ll do everything possible to catch that plane to Brazil.

“Everyone says I came to Guangzhou for money, but it’s a shame nobody discusses the experiences. I always showed in my career that I chase experiences, not cash.

“Thanks to Lippi this League is expanding and I think many more will come here. If I go to the World Cup and make an impact, it’ll be a great advert for Italian football in China.”

Diamanti had more reason than most to accept a switch to China, as his wife Silvia is Chinese.

“She would’ve come with me anywhere in the world. She helps me with the language here, while in Italy we already had a Chinese au pair for the kids. The children see this as a game or like going on holiday.

“I’m looking for a house right now and will make that decision with Silvia. Your home is fundamental, as it’s where your life is based. It’s a very large and clean city, very modern.”

Diamanti admitted he turned down an offer from Juventus, but could not resist the lure of a spell in China.

“Yes, Juve did push the most, but there were other proposals too. I was and am close to Bologna, but always said I’d consider proposals from abroad. I didn’t decide the timing of the sale and always trained in a very professional manner.

“I’m sure Bologna will survive the drop even without me, as they have strong players who work with passion. I have fond memories of Bologna and tried to repay all the city gave me.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with