Pellegrini looking forward to progressing with Roma
Midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini is looking forward to the challenge of establishing himself in Roma's midfield, as he settles back into life with the Giallorossi.
Speaking at his formal unveiling during a press conference at Trigoria on Thursday afternoon, the Italy international admitted that his long bond with Roma - he joined as a 10-year-old, before leaving in search of first-team experience two years ago - heavily influenced his decision to rejoin the club earlier this summer.
"My goal was to return home and continue my career here at Roma," Pellegrini said. "It was a really big decision for me to leave here two years ago.
"Sassuolo helped me to develop right across the board, not just as a player but as a person too. I want to say a special thank you to them, but now I'm here and Roma is all I'm focused on."
See what else the midfielder had to say...
Where do you think you've improved thanks to your spell at Sassuolo?
"I left two years ago because I needed to develop and mature and it's because of that experience that I'm ready now. My time at Sassuolo made me realise what football and life is all about. I met lots of people who helped me, including on a personal level. It's never easy to leave home at 18 after spending ten years at one club. I want to thank everyone at Sassuolo for that, from the president right through to the fans."
Are you aiming to make the squad for the World Cup in 2018? How big a help will it be to play with the likes of Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman and Maxime Gonalons?
"It's definitely an aim. I'll have to see how much playing time I can get. We have a strong midfield here but that doesn't worry me because I can learn a lot and draw lessons from top players. I hope to seize this chance."
You know Eusebio Di Francesco very well. What does he expect from central midfielders?
"The coach tries to ensure that we all have several options to build the play and encourages movement so there are plenty of passes on. It's comes down to what we do on the pitch, but he tries to impose a clear style. He also demands a lot of hard work and likes us to get into the box, plus there's lots of running in both the attacking and defensive phases.
"It's not easy to sum up everything he asks of us here and it'll take a while before we can put that into practice properly, but all of the players are open to it and I'm sure we'll get there soon."
Would you like to become an icon at Roma?
"I grew up here and as I say I see this as my home. I am ready for that. I'm absolutely delighted to be back home at such a big club. I think that all parties want to move forward together."
Is Di Francesco different at all?
"Not at all. The coach and all the staff are exactly the same and the training is just like it was at Sassuolo. I'm happy about that. People often say that it's tough to deal with certain situations, but this best thing is to be yourself."
Juventus and AC Milan were interested in signing you in January. Did you ever consider not coming back to Roma?
"I never thought of leaving Sassuolo in January. It wasn't a good spell for us. I spoke to the directors and I knew that Roma had made an offer, but we decided to stay together until the end of the season. That was the right thing to do, because Sassuolo wouldn't have deserved it. I wanted to repay them. I was keen to know whether Roma were interested, though. The sporting director helped me a lot during the year - we spoke a lot and I knew that this was my future."
Are you disappointed not to be able to play with Francesco Totti?
"A little, but I'm delighted to be here - it's an honour. I know that Francesco is still going to be around, and in any case it will be amazing to share a dressing room with players like Daniele [De Rossi] and Alessandro [Florenzi]. This is home to me and I think that goes for them too. We're born and bred here and that means we feel a responsibility to give even more."