Parma, 12 February 2021 – Graziano Pellè was introduced as a new Parma Calcio player at the Tardini today. This is what he had to say:

“As regards my physical condition, I’ve continued to work hard because there were transfer rumours surrounding my name and I wanted to be ready. In terms of the team, you need to be intelligent in the way you come in and lend a hand. There’s no time to lose because we’re going through a difficult spell. The Coach will decide who plays and who doesn’t play, all of us are at his disposal and I hope I’ll be able to help when I’m called upon. My decision to go to China was, for various reasons, the best one for me at the time. When you behave professionally, you can give your all wherever you are in the world. I’d reached a mature enough stage to respect a league where, despite the standards not being as high as in Europe, training is always intense and the players give their all.

“I’ve joined at a particularly difficult time, I’m very much aware of this. I’m very happy and proud to be here and would like to thank the director and Club, I really wanted this. On a mental level, I’m feeling extremely positive. While we need to recognise where we are in the league, we can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We need to try to react: football can take a turn for the better or worse in an instant. We’re currently experiencing a negative spell and therefore the only way is up. I’ll try to lend a hand mentally too, we need to show pride and try to turn things around.

“After my first spell at Parma, I was able to find the right balance. Football is a job and you need to work on the smallest details in order to arrive at the top. I’ve changed quite a lot, I’m more complete than I was in the past. In general, I like feeling the pressure, something which you’re put under every Sunday. Things can go well or not so well, it’s part of the job. You need to remain positive, otherwise negativity is taken onto the pitch. We’ve got a large squad here and can all help each other out: what you do collectively is key.

Why did I choose Parma? There were a few calls, I waited a while to mull over my options, and Parma seemed the club most keen to have me. I’d been here a while ago, I’m quite a proud person and I like to give what I get, so I think this team is something I want to contribute to. The Coach is the one who decides, we have to be available for him. With regards to his approach to training, he likes to do things that benefit us. He expects a lot from us, which can only be a good thing. I’ve had my fair share of good coaches, and you can really feel the difference when you work with those who want to do the utmost possible. Although he’s young, he has clear ideas and we must follow him every step of the way.

“I thanked Zirkzee in person, I’d already been told what he had said about me: having played for Feyenoord, I’m glad to be amongst his favourite players in that era. He has quality, physical strength and he’s young, he must show real eagerness to improve. There are many strikers here, but this is a good thing: whoever plays has to do everything that they can. They’re all good lads, we have to help each other in order to help the team. Football isn’t just about fitness or talent, the psychological aspect is also important when it comes to making choices and in dealing with both positive and negative moments. Through the years, I think that I’ve developed in such a way mentally that I can handle the volatility that comes with football.

“Covid broke out in China in winter, when no one was playing and we were abroad. When we came back, the situation had already improved. They followed the rules to a T. Despite the fact that the rest of the population was living normally, we played in a bubble for five months, as a precautionary measure. It was by no means an easy year, but then I don’t think it was easy for anyone.”