Bastoni, can you update us on how the team is doing in terms of preparation?
“We started ten days ago and so our condition is not at the best and that’s normal. Some mistakes are allowed in this period and even the defeat against Lens should not worry us. I feel that soon we will reach our best together.”
And is this the year for you to definitively make the big jump on the international level?
“Certainty, but it is also a big jump for this team: we have been playing together for many years and the more time passes the better you fit with your teammates and also improve individually. Now Romelu is back too and he will give us a great hand in Italy and in Europe. One thing is certain, we aim for the maximum in every competition.”
What did you feel looking at those images from Milan celebration?
“Admittedly, it was hard to digest but that’s normal. Not winning is bad, let alone your inner city rivals. We will do everything to be the team that celebrates in the city next time.”
For a long time, there were a lot of transfer market rumors about you. And then Inter decided decisively to keep you. What does this decision mean to you?
“It means a lot. I have never had the slightest doubt of leaving Inter, here I have everything and I need to feel good and to express myself at my very best. I’m great with my teammates, with the club, I love the city and so why would I go anywhere else? I’m happy to be here, I still see myself in this shirt for many years and of course I still hope to win a lot more here.”
Lukaku is back. How is he?
“The exact same wonderful person and same great striker. I wasn’t surprised by his choice (of coming back): when you are so comfortable somewhere, of course you want to return somehow. It’s natural on the human level. We have welcomed him back in a major way, there are neither regrets nor remorse here: just make us win like two years ago and that would be enough.”
How do you think he will fit in a different system like that of Inzaghi?
“We know Romelu has incredible qualities and that is regardless of who the coach is. His physicality makes the difference but our game will continue to be proactive, offensive, courageous as you have seen. And we hope that, within this system, Rom will score many goals as he has done. And to help him, there are other great strikers like Lautaro, Correa and Dzeko.”
How important is it for Inter to preserve its cord of Italian players?
“Keeping our backbone is crucial, and I’m not just referring to the Italians like me or Barella. There are guys like Handanovic and Skriniar, who may not be Italian by nationality, but they embody the Inter spirit: they too are decisive in preserving the group.”
By the way, did you hear what your captain said to the Gazzetta? Do you think Skriniar should never be sold?
“Skriniar has integrated himself here perfectly over the years and we have integrated with him fully in the defense that we have built together. Plus, he is my best friend in the team. It would be a real shame if he left us right now so I hope he stays. I think we will still do many great things together.”
Competition in Serie A has increased: is there any team you see that is better equipped?
“Juve have strengthened a lot, I see them as the most dangerous opponent. They have signed many good players this summer like Di Maria, Pogba and Bremer. They are like a battleship for sure.”
Is Bonucci right in saying that Juve are back?
“It’s true, but it is also true that Inter aren’t going anywhere. We haven’t left. We know our qualities and our strength. We won it two years ago and have everything to repeat ourselves.”
Is this Inter team stronger than the one of last season?
“Well, we have been playing together for several years: the understanding, the way we play, the strength of the group… all are improved. That’s why yes in my opinion our team is stronger than last year and we can aim to do well in any competition.”
What are details that you and your teammates need to take care of for this season?
“In a dense and compact season, physical aspect and physical management are the most important thing. It will be important to feel healthy/good for as long as possible and have many changes to use if necessary because there are so many close matches and there is the World Cup as well. That in itself is an uncreditable variable.”
Speaking of the World Cup, will you be watching your teammates in Qatar?
“It’s clear that watching the World Cup will be painful. But more so than defenders, I will look at the forwards. I like Argentina: at this point, without Italy, I’ll cheer for Correa and Lautaro a bit.”
Yeah, in this forum we've always talked about UEFA lists when we talk about club-trained players. Because the stricter rule of course defines everything. If player can be included to Serie A squad but not Uefa, it's more than suboptimal.