How does it feel to join Spurs?
It’s an amazing feeling. I’m very happy for this opportunity. It’s a massive club. It’s a very good chance for me, a big chance. I’m really blessed and proud to be here and I’m just happy to be part of this club and to join this team of great players.
What are your first thoughts of what will be your new home at the training centre?
It’s amazing and it’s difficult to even describe it with words. I knew about it because my Italian team-mates [who trained at Hotspur Way before the Euros final] told me about it. They told me ‘Pier, just go, don’t even think about it, it’s amazing, just go’. I told them not to send me any pictures of it because I wanted to be surprised. I didn’t want to see anything before.
Has the surprise lived up to what you were hoping for?
I think it went over what I was expecting. It’s amazing.
How did you end up going to Manchester when you were so young?
It was very difficult to leave your country when you’re 16. I didn’t speak any English. I didn’t know anybody there and it was a different culture, a different country and it was very tough for me at the beginning.
I was by myself but all of this struggle made me a better person, stronger and I think also because of the experience I’m here today and I made all of the steps that I did in my career.
I think for me it was the university of football. It’s what got me ready for the real career in professional football. It’s always tough to change everything. I played in Italy since I was four, I grew up with my friends and my family.
It’s different, but when you have a dream you have to be ready to change everything and to make sacrifices to make your dream come true.
People will remember you from your time at Aston Villa in the Championship and that included an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane?
Yeah, I was on the bench and I didn’t play. We lost and I only played six months at Villa. I had the chance to go to Atalanta. I thought that was the right choice to make at that time and I guess I was right.
It was an amazing five years for me at Atalanta. What we did there was amazing for the club and the fans. We were a club that used to fight against relegation and we went to the Europa League and two years of the Champions League and this year we qualified again, so I’m really happy for what we did there and for what we achieved with that club and also because of what we achieved with the club and also probably how I did there, I’m here today. So I can only say thank you to the city of Bergamo and the club Atalanta.
Tell us a bit about your life as a boy growing up in Italy?
I always wanted to be a footballer. I started playing when I was four. I always wanted to be a goalkeeper but they never let me play in goal because I was quite good outfield as well. I started to play for the team of my city.
I started to play as a defender and the number four and when they created the team of my town and all the guys from outside my city, we went there for selection and there were like 250 guys, and only 25 stayed.
We played against Bologna, Parma and I was a centre-back, but I always wanted to be a goalkeeper.
One day I said to the goalkeeper coach ‘I swear I’m really good in goal. Trust me, let me try’.
He told me ‘when you come with the gloves, I’ll let you try’. The day after I was there with the gloves and boom, since they I have always been a goalkeeper.
What are your hopes for next season at Tottenham and beyond that?
He’s a legend of this club, he’s the captain, a world champion, so for me it’s a privilege, it’s an honour to work with him and train with him and I’m sure I can learn a lot from him.
When I look at this team and this group of guys I think this squad is really good. As a team we have to be really ambitious and we should try to win something because it’s a big team and a big club and I think winning has to be the goal.
I’ve played in Italy and the Premier League for me is a big chance to also show myself in this league. I just can’t wait.
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Can I ask you about the rap and hip-hop side of your character?
I did that because I wanted to renew the pitch of my street, the pitch of my hood, where I grew up and I played as a kid, so I made that song and a part of the video was shot on that pitch so I did the video, what I wanted to do, my goal was to make it new, to renew that place were I started to play football and next summer it will be ready, there will be the new pitch.
You can make a dream come true, if your dreams come true you always have to remember where you come from.
What I am today is also because I grew up in a certain place and got something from the place, I am always happy to go back home and I feel very close to where I am from, even if I don’t live there since I was 15 years old. That’s where my family are, that’s where my investments are, I will always remember where I am from.
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