Ex-Nerazzurri Midfielder Zé Elias: “Hope Lautaro Martinez Stays At Inter But His Love Of Barcelona Well Known”

Ex-Nerazzurri Midfielder Zé Elias: “Hope Lautaro Martinez Stays At Inter But His Love Of Barcelona Well Known”
July 19, 2020 11:30
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Former Inter midfielder Zé Elias discussed the Nerazzurri’s current squad, their season so far and his time with the club in an interview with Italian radio broadcaster Radio Music Television on Friday evening.

“It’s Antonio Conte’s first year, there have been several changes, at a mental level as well, so things take time. We need reference points in the team and everyone has to talk to each other, even the management.

“The responsibility is not only on the players, you always win and lose together, now you have to be compact and find together the best solution to make the team stronger, the blame is on everyone.”

The 43-year-old Brazilian then spoke about 28-year-old Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has struggled to adapt since joining the club in January from Tottenham in a deal worth €20 million.

“Unfortunately, he’s struggling to find space, in the Premier League we always talk about a more difficult league, but the truth is that in Italy you play a different type of football, you think about the ball, the roles, the movements.

“A football he’ll have to get used to, he was expected to do well immediately. You don’t immediately understand his position on the pitch. It will take time for him to get used to it, we’re talking about a very good player here.”

Zé Elias spoke about what kind of player Conte’s squad is missing.

“We need a player to give security to the defense. Godin, De Vrij and Bastoni are strong but not very fast, they need protection when they don’t have the ball. We need a player who knows how to nick the ball but also how to play with the ball. A player like that who runs with determination also serves to keep the team alive, for the good of the game and the fans.”

The Brazilian touched on the current situation of Nerazzurri forward Lautaro Martinez and whether he’ll go to Barcelona this summer.

“In Brazil his preference for Barcelona has always been known, and it is probable that the club’s presidency, which is going through a tough moment, will bet on this transfer.

“When so much money is at stake, it’s hard to think about a player’s love for the shirt. Football has changed a lot. I hope he stays at Inter, in a few years this player will be a reference point for the whole world.”

He spoke positively about former Inter coach Luigi Simoni, touching on a memory from his time with the Nerazzurri.

“A special person, he’s always with me, he’s always alive, he never left for me. Special people never die. I remember when we were at Pinetina, there was the UEFA Cup final and I was convinced that I would not play, having returned from friendly matches with the Brazilian national team.”

Finally, Zé Elias revealed how wonderful his relationship was with Simoni and how it made a difference to him.

“I thought Benoit Cauet was playing and instead, as he always did, he called me and said, ‘Zé how are you, all right? See you play tomorrow’. ‘Me?’ I asked him incredulously. ‘Yes, I have so much faith in you, I want a strong midfield to let Ronaldo play well up front, I’m counting on you,’ the coach told me, then he hugged me and wished me luck for the game. This will stay with me forever. Every day he coached us he was always very sweet, polite. He wasn’t from this world, he was from a romantic world of football.”

Zé Elias spent two years of his career with Inter, from 1997 to 1999. In that time, he won the UEFA Cup with the club, but was sold to Bologna in 1999.

By Apollo Heyes
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