Thursday April 24 2014
Palacio: Napoli, then Milan

Rodrigo Palacio says Inter’s focus is first on defeating Napoli this weekend, before coming up against Milan in the ‘most beautiful game of the year’.

The Nerazzurri’s Week 36 meeting with their city rivals could be an effective play-off for Europa League qualification and heading into it, eyes on Palacio, for his goal scored in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

“I was lucky enough to score in the reverse fixture, but the real derby man is Diego Milito, because he has scored so many goals against Milan,” the Argentine responded this week on Inter Channel.

“I only have one for now, I hope to be able to score another in the next game, it might be enough to win.

“Is it a special game? Before that we have Napoli, another difficult match, and it is important for us to put in a great performance to try to qualify for the Europa League.

“Then comes the derby, the most beautiful match of the year, which of course we hope to win.

“The derby is nice, playing in front of a full San Siro is beautiful. The days before the game fans always come up to me at the restaurant to give me their ‘recommendations’ - football is like this, people live for football, like us.

“We will do everything to win.

“Our season so far? We're looking good at the moment and I think we're having a decent season.

“We know we weren't able to challenge for the title because there are some great sides up there like Roma and Juventus. We're working to get there ourselves.”

This weekend’s meeting at home with Napoli will pit Palacio up against compatriot Gonzalo Higuain.

“He's a River Plate boy, so it will be good to go up against him. We're friends and we get on well. I certainly expect it to be a great game.

“We'll have to keep close tabs on El Pipita because he's the sort of player who can really make the difference.

“I thought he'd do well in Serie A – he came here from Real Madrid after all, a fantastic team where he scored lots of goals, so I knew he'd have good season.”

Palacio also faced a number of questions in his interview sent in by fans.

“Am I aggressive on the pitch? Maybe I turn into a different person! Maybe because I like winning, so I always do everything I possibly can. Even if I wear myself out, I run and run and run...

“When you're playing you don't think about getting injured. Last year in Genoa I hurt myself as I was kicking the ball but all I cared about was that it went in. My daughter wears me out more: she never stops running about!

“Have I always worn No.8? No, at Boca I had 14. Why 8? Because I like the number and Sculli had 14 at Genoa. What would I have done if I hadn't been a footballer? I'd have played basketball.

“My favourite dish? Here in Italy I like pasta, and I loved the focaccia in Genoa. The world's best player? Messi.”