APPIANO GENTILE – Cristian Chivu was hosted on Inter Channel’s ‘A tu per tu’
programme ahead of the team’s match away to Chievo Verona
You’re returning to the Stadio Bentegodi for the first time since 6 January 2010, a date that will remain indelible for you as a footballer and as a man [the date of his clash with Sergio Pellissier
that resulted in a skull injury and subsequent surgery – Ed.].
"It’s true, this is the first time I’ve gone back to the
stadium since then but I don’t feel particularly emotional. It’s an
away game like any other. Two years have passed and it’s not
something I really think about; I try to forget about it because
that’s the only way you can move forward. From the outside it might
seem like a strange trip for me but it’s not because I’ve never
thought about it and I’m sure I never will. If I did, it would be
impossible for me to go on a trip like this. I’d have to hold up my
hand and say, ‘Sorry, but I’m not going to Verona.’ But it’s not like
Still, Verona is a city that we can say adopted you, in the
hospital, where all the doctors showed immense compassion in what was a
horrible time for you.
"I must thank them again and I’ll do that every time I talk
about the incident, when I’m asked how I feel about going back to
Verona. All I can do is thank the doctors who did their jobs so well and demonstrated their professionalism in a
situation that can’t have been easy to handle, considering all
the pressure from the media as well. When Chievo came to San Siro earlier on
in the season, I invited some of the medical team who looked after me
during that week in hospital to the game. I also remember the mayor of
Verona coming to visit me on the second day after my operation. Everyone
showed great warmth and affection, and also that it was an important
moment for them as a city and as a hospital. They did everything
they could to do their jobs in the best way possible and I will always
be grateful to them."
So the only thing that reminds you of what you went through is
that helmet you have to wear every time you take to the field…
"Given our current situation I think I can say the only
memory I have of that day was that we won 1-0."
Precisely, you never finished that game so you can take it up
again from that now.
"I would like to finish it by winning. That would be a good place
to start from considering the situation we have to get ourselves out of. We
must repeat that result from two years ago and then move forward from there."
Was the Catania game a step in the right direction?
"They are small steps but we have to settle for those at the moment
because unfortunately this is the situation we’re in. I believe we
are a great team suffering from a psychological dip and we’re finding
it hard to get over it. It’s not easy to deal with a month – like the
February we’ve just had – in which you didn’t win a match or even
score a goal. Only in the last game did we show our pride, without
playing particularly well though. That’s the starting point for this
team, to help us find ourselves again, perhaps with a little less
pressure over whether we’ve scored or not. A point is a start and
that’s the way we have to look at it. We have to be smart enough to
understand the spell we’re going through and our shortcomings, show
our pride and make the most of the positive moments during the game,
while trying to suffer as little as possible."
How do you feel now?
"I’ve been back in full training for a week. I wasn’t in
the squad for the Catania game because I had only completed two
training sessions – at least, I think that’s the
reason [smiling]. I’m over the problems I had in Naples now: not 100%
but I’m ok to play."
Looking at the Champions League, we saw there are different ways
to reach the quarter-finals: take Barcelona and APOEL. All that
matters in football is clearing the hurdle…
"It’s a different competition and you have different
motivation. We must overturn the result and I believe it can be done.
It’s only 1-0 and I think our team is capable of doing it because
last year – when we were finding it hard in Serie A – we had
some excellent results in the Champions League group stage, in Moscow
and Lille for example."
Is next week’s match against Olympique Marseille the sort of
game that players enjoy because it’s all or nothing?
"It’s only 1-0 so it’s not as if we have to pull off some
improbable result like Arsenal or Bayer Leverkusen had to. And let’s not
forget that this season we only really have one feasible target left
because we’re some way off the pace in the league and we’re out of the Coppa
Italia. It’s one of those years so if we want to win something it
will have to be the Champions League. We’re working hard to try and