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De Rossi suffers Boca injury

Former Roma and Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi will miss Boca Juniors’ next game after suffering a thigh injury.

De Rossi has played four times for Boca since arriving on a free transfer in July, helping them to two wins and as many draws.

However, he will miss their next match against San Lorenzo on Saturday after it was confirmed he had suffered “a right hamstring strain”.

Despite that, the wording of the club’s tweet suggests he will be back after this weekend.

Boca lead the Argentine top flight with 14 points from their first six games and face arch-rivals River Plate in a two-legged Copa Libertadores semi-final next month.


Smalling relishing Roma challenge

Chris Smalling claims staying at Manchester United would have been “the easy decision” and is determined to star as a ball-playing defender for Roma.

Smalling is one of few English players to have taken the plunge abroad, and he is ready to fully immerse himself into life at Roma, having rejected a bit-part role with United.

“You do see very few English players going abroad and those that do are largely good players otherwise they wouldn’t have gone,” he told The Telegraph.

“But I feel a lot of their downfall is in the language. On the pitch you can learn the different basics of ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘behind you’ but off the pitch you want to have that influence around the team.

“We will be traveling together as a team so it is important to communicate as much as I can. That helps me be more comfortable around my teammates. It makes the experience a lot better.

“Maybe where some English players are not fully committed to the language, off the pitch it is a big divide. By learning I can bring us closer and get to know them as soon as I can.

“[Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] said I would get games. I am used to playing when I am fit. Although that might have been slightly different this season.

“I would have had the cup games and then in the League, depending on injuries. Would it have been the 40-50 games that I am used to if fit? It might have been the 20-30. Still a good number of games but I want to play.

“I love a challenge and when a new centre-back comes in [Harry Maguire] it makes you raise your game. You have to show more, you have to be more consistent.

“If I had stayed I would have taken on that challenge and I would have been very confident that I would have played the number of games that I was worthy of.

“Equally I have a challenge here at Roma. Going back [at the end of the season] I will have an added element that some of the centre-backs won’t have.

“The easy decision was to stay. This is the perfect opportunity to try and live in a different culture. In that respect it is like a total change, although football is still the same football.”

The 29-year-old joined United from Fulham in 2010 and won two Premier League titles, prior to a marked decline after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

“My period [at the club] is full of ups and downs. The Sir Alex period and then the number of managers who have come subsequently.

“As players it can be tough, you are so used to something and then different managers… it is definitely a challenge.

“It was something I took on each season whoever the manager was. It was about proving yourself to that manager.

“Because of the expectations, as well, I think sometimes we didn’t always meet them. And sometimes we did with some of the cups.

“It was definitely an interesting time and I have learned from each manager. It has definitely helped me as a player.”

Smalling was dropped by England in November 2017, with CT Gareth Southgate suggesting there were other centre-backs more capable of building up play.

“I am disappointed. I was used to going to England. I was playing regularly for United up to when I left.

“The aspiration is always there. Ultimately it is down to the manager’s choice. What was said was maybe unfair at times and managers [who have picked me] at United are some of the world-class ones.

“Some of the things that maybe he [Southgate] mentioned… I feel even the managers who have been brought in at United have certain ways of playing and some of them are quite similar to Gareth. I guess football is a game of opinions.

“I am definitely not going to agree with him and he might not agree with some of the things that I would say back.

“Ultimately I would never close that door and hopefully work my way in at some point. It is looking slim under Gareth but never say never.”

Finally, he commented on the racism storm that has again engulfed Italian football.

“Our voices as players need to be heard, whether that is us or the staff who are the subject of it.

“It needs to be said and ultimately when people do speak up is when a change happens.

“Hopefully the governing bodies and Leagues and us players are closer [in terms of their views]. I feel that there is starting to be a little bit of cohesion.

“It is just disappointing. You have kids watching it on TV and then you have your kids being brought up around it. It needs to stop.”


Kluivert: More Roma confidence

Justin Kluivert says he is “gaining more and more confidence” after helping Roma thrash Istanbul Basaksehir 4-0 on Thursday.

Kluivert grabbed his second goal in as many games last night, and the former Ajax winger believes he is thriving after a “difficult” first season at Roma.

“I’m gaining more and more confidence and I’m playing well with this team,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“My first season was difficult, but now I want to do better. We have lots of good players and we’ll all be needed because we have lots of games coming up.”

The 20-year-old also played his way back into the Netherlands squad for matches against Germany and Estonia earlier in the month, although he did not receive any game time.


Fonseca: ‘Roma learned from Lazio’

Paulo Fonseca reveals the derby with Lazio was crucial for Roma to “understand what we were doing wrong” and help inspire their 4-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir.

“It’s true that I didn’t like the first half, as we didn’t press well, we didn’t attack effectively and were too slow,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“However, we did much better in the second half and created many scoring opportunities.”

The Giallorossi had stuttered in the early games under this Coach, drawing 3-3 with Genoa and clinging to the woodwork in a 1-1 with their city rivals Lazio, but seem to have turned a corner.

They beat Sassuolo 4-2 at the weekend and now kept their first clean sheet in the Europa League opener with Istanbul Basaksehir.

“The game with Lazio was very important for us, as it helped us understand what we were doing wrong and we did a lot wrong in that match. We talked about the performance and told the players we had to be more aggressive, keep control of the ball, and the team is learning that.

“I am very happy with the progress made and the way they are playing now. The passing lines are very important and we need movement to open up the channels, to provide options.

“I am feeling confident, because all the players have understood what I want. They are open to my ideas. It’s important not to concede goals, but we are doing particularly well in attack at the moment.”

Edin Dzeko had seemed to be on the verge of a transfer to Inter for most of the summer, only to suddenly sign a new contract. How did Fonseca convince him?

“I spoke to Dzeko during pre-season and let him know that this style of football is simply ideal for him.”


Zaniolo: ‘Formidable Dzeko’

Nicolò Zaniolo thanked “formidable” Roma teammate Edin Dzeko after they combined in a 4-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir.

“I am very happy with what I’m doing, but above all with the team’s victory,” the 20-year-old said on Sky Sport Italia.

“Edin is a formidable player, I just have to call and he puts the ball at my feet. I am really pleased to be playing alongside him.”

This evening with Zaniolo’s goal and assist comes precisely one year on from his professional debut, which just happened to be a Champions League match against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

“I think training day by day is the only way to improve and we’re working hard. This is a very attacking style of football, but it also requires sacrifice in defence, so it’s a matter of balance and we do what the Coach asks.

“Without a doubt, we score a lot of goals, but we must do better at not conceding them.”