World Cup winner Nzonzi ready to knuckle down at Roma

Rome (AFP) – French World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi insisted Thursday he was raring to get back to work as he was presented by his new Serie A club Roma.

“The holidays are over and I have to focus on Roma,” said the 29-year-old Nzonzi who lifted the World Cup trophy in Russia four weeks ago.

“Physically I feel good, I’m working hard to be in the best possible shape. I can’t give you a date but I want to be ready and play again quickly.”

Roma paid an initial fee of 26.65 million euros (30 million euros) for Nzonzi, who featured in five of France’s seven games at the World Cup, including an appearance off the bench in the 4-2 win over Croatia in the final.

Nzonzi insisted that his new status as a World Cup winner was not behind his decision to leave Sevilla.

“It wasn’t winning the World Cup that pushed me to change. I spent three beautiful years at Sevilla and I thought that the time had come for a new challenge.

“That’s why I came here, to a big club, which is going to allow me to continue to progress.”

Nzonzi added he would have no problem playing alongside Roma captain Daniele De Rossi in midfield.

“I’m a central midfielder, even though I’ve played in other midfield roles in the past. I recover the ball and make the team play,” explained the former Blackburn and Stoke City player.

“I’m available to the coach, our job is to adapt to what the team needs. I played in front of the defence at Sevilla but I’ve also played in other roles throughout my career.”

Meanwhile Roma sporting director Monchi recalled he had also recruited the promising Nzonzi during his time at Sevilla. 

“That shows I have confidence in him. If I recruited him twice it’s that I think he’s strong. He’s going to become even stronger playing and training alongside De Rossi, (Bryan) Cristante, (Javier) Pastore …” added the Spaniard.

Monchi conceded however his arrival could have an impact on the future of French midfielder Maxime Gonalons who was recruited last year.

“It’s true though that with Nzonzi’s arrival there’s more competition and I’ll have to talk to him.”

Roma finished third in Serie A last season and open their campaign on Sunday against Torino.

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