APPIANO GENTILE – Gabi Mudingayi spoke to journalists in the conference room at the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti today, accompanied by managing director Marco Fassone and sporting director Piero Ausilio.
Managing director Fassone introduced the new Inter midfield player to journalists: "On behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to officially welcome Mudingayi here. He’s a player that the club and in particular the coach really wanted to sign. He’s the finishing touch to our midfield and brings invaluable experience with him, having already played 200 games in Serie A. Gabi’s arrival will give the side an extra boost in quality and it also confirms the current strategy of the club, that of integrating young players into a squad that is already packed with experienced players and with champions who have contributed towards writing the history of Inter."
Then it was time for the player to speak: "I’m very excited because finally being able to play for a club of this stature is an important step for me. I have to admit that I’d given up hope: I’ve always worked hard in a bid to play for a club such as Inter. When I say that I’ll put my heart and soul into this, that’s exactly what I’ll do: players always have to give their all here, and there will never be any lack of effort on my part. For me, Inter is a new starting point. I’d like to play as many games as possible and, why not, perhaps even end my career here."
The 30-year-old has midfielder has been an Inter player for just seven days now, but it’s "still always exciting to actually walk into a dressing room like Inter’s", Mudingayi explained. Then, talking about which position he’d like to play, he added: "I’m here and willing to be at the complete disposal of the coach and the rest of the squad. Irrespective of which role I’m asked to play, I’ll always try to give my all. I’ve spoken to Stramaccioni, I’m training and he’s keeping an eye on me. It’ll be up to him to decide where to play me."
The link with a move to Inter, the phone call, the wait and then signing his contract, on 20 July. Mudingayi spoke about his feelings during that wait: "As soon as I found out Inter were interested in me, I immediately told my agent that I wanted to come here. I didn’t even take any notice of the rumours linking me to other clubs. That was a tough week, as I absolutely and categorically wanted to come here. But not because I was afraid of anything else. I wanted to get to know my team-mates, to familiarise myself with things here and to start preparing for the season. Was I afraid I would face charges relating to calcio-scommesse? No, I’ve been very calm about the situation right from the start, because I’m only helping police with their enquiries. I haven’t been charged. I’ve always been very calm about the situation."
Speaking about his current team-mates, or new signings that may yet join him: "I’m working with everyone and I’m settling in well. During the friendly against Como I played alongside Guarin. Cambiasso has a lot of experience and I can learn a lot from him, even though I’m not that young any more. I’ve been in Italy almost 10 years now and I know Serie A well. I repeat, I’ll give my all. That’s the only promise I can make at the moment. Playing alongside champions such as Snejider and Milito is a tremendous joy for me. I’ll do a lot of hard grafting for them. I don’t have footballing heroes, although there are a lot of players I’ve always enjoyed watching and have respect for, such as Makelele."
On the probable departures of Julio Cesar, Pazzini and Maicon, the midfielder said: "I’d be sorry to see them leave as they’re true champions, but I don’t know anything about players who may be leaving or signing. All I can say is that there’s a fantastic squad here and everyone has made me feel welcome. Which Primavera players have impressed me most? All of them! They all work hard and I can see they really want to make something of their careers."
And to those who asked him whether he would advise former Bologna team-mate Gaston Ramirez to sign for Inter, he replied: "If he has the chance to sign for Inter, he shouldn’t even think twice about it! He’s still a young player but he has a lot of skill and ability and, were he to come here, he’d learn a lot. He’s already shown he’s a player with a lot of quality."
Finally, Mudingayi cleared up the issue about his fitness: "I did have a slight muscle problem and I didn’t leave for pre-season training with Bologna. But I’ve trained and worked during the entire summer break. I’ll continue to do that here, even harder. I’m ready and I’ve got a tremendous desire to do my bit."