Tuesday February 16 2016
Spalletti: 'Florenzi to take Ronaldo'

Roma Coach Luciano Spalletti says Alessandro Florenzi 'can do everything' and may take on Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow.

The Portuguese superstar will be one of the most serious threats posed by the Merengues tomorrow night at 19:45, even though some fans have criticised his performances this season.

“Well, then imagine what Spanish fans would have said if they'd have to deal with the things we've just been through!” Spalletti told the Press. “Ronaldo is among the best in the world for the things he shows on the pitch.

“He can always be decisive because he is a modern footballer: strength, physicality, speed, goals. But I won't build cages around him, as journalists have been suggesting.

“I won't tell three of my men to mark him, I won't say that they're worth a third of Ronaldo. Rather I'll tell whoever is in his area that he has the opportunity of being on a par with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Compared to the way Real Madrid looked eight years ago [when Spalletti first defeated them in the Champions League], they seem capable of countering better now.

“The old Real was more based on possession, they crushed you with their play. This team turns plays around with astonishing speed and what people take to be their weakness is in fact their weapon.

“The players they leave behind midway on the pitch are the same ones that turn the game around and go for a shot.”

The Coach was then asked whether Alessandro Florenzi might be assigned to marking Ronaldo.

“It might be him, alongside others. The fact that I moved him means that I have other people capable of covering that role.

“Having said that, it's clear that if your opponent is Ronaldo, you need to have some speed. That's the first quality to counter a player with those skills.

“Florenzi is one of those players who knows how to do everything very well. You can use him anywhere and this approach will tell us what his specific role is, though I'm convinced it won't make much of a difference, especially if our mentality is that of attacking our rivals and winning all of the games.”

Finally, Spalletti was asked whether the return of fans to the stadium was thanks to him.

“The credit always goes to what the team can offer, and that's down to whether they can work seriously.

“The team, for the time I've been with them, did their job. Since there are some sentinels here in Rome, everything we're doing is being seen outside too.

“We haven't been playing a spectacular football so far, but we've given it all we had. We need our supporters. There's nothing worst than playing at the Olimpico without them.

“Tomorrow the team will do better because they'll know the Curva Sud is going to be full.”

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