Inter striker Edin Dzeko said he doesn’t feel the pressure of replacing Romelu Lukaku and admitted he was ‘ready to give everything for Jose Mourinho, but then…’
The veteran joined the Nerazzurri ahead of the new campaign, having spent six years at Roma and appearing in 260 competitive games with the Giallorossi.
The Bosnia international spoke to Amazon Prime ahead of tonight’s opening game against Real Madrid in the Champions League and spoke about his nickname, Lautaro Martinez, Roma, Inter, Simone Inzaghi and Lukaku.
“The swan of Sarajevo is a nickname I like,” he told Amazon Prime. “I heard it in these six years, in the last month it’s more and more.
“The childhood was not easy for many children in Bosnia during the war. But the people came out of there much stronger and I didn’t expect to be what I am today, at a sporting level.
“Humanly, yes, because thanks to my parents I became a man, first of all.”
Dzeko arrived at Roma from Manchester City and spoke about his time with Sergio Aguero at the Citizens. Now he plays with another Argentine at Inter and believes he can create a good partnership with Lautaro.
“Strong players can always play together, and I had a great time with Aguero,” he said. “Like he did with me.
“If me and Lautaro do here what we did then, I’m happy. Lautaro is a great player, and we hope to do great things for Inter.”
Dzeko scored 119 goals and contributed 55 assists during his six years with La Lupa in the Italian capital.
“Rome is a very difficult place,” he said. “[Luciano] Spalletti is one of the best coaches I have had. On the first day, at the end of the training, he took me to see my games with City, telling me which movements I had to improve.
“We worked a lot with the movements, with the shots. This helped me become the top scorer.”
Dzeko has a great memory from the Champions League with Roma, turning around a 4-1 defeat to advance against the Blaugrana in the knockout stages.
“We said we had to try, but then we didn’t imagine it would be possible to score three goals against Barcelona after losing 4-1.
“We told ourselves to try because the fans were with us. The first goal changed everything, because it came very early. We haven’t yet realised what opportunity we had because Liverpool were stronger, but we did well.
“We threw away the first, if it had gone differently, anything could have happened.”
Dzeko revealed he expected to stay at Roma and was ready to ‘give everything’ for the Giallorossi.
“I didn’t expect to come because I had another year at Roma,” he said. “I told coach Mourinho that I would have given everything for Roma, even if there were many things I didn’t like from the last six months.
“But I have a lot of respect for Mourinho and for Roma, who gave me so much, and I can only say thank you.
“But then my contract was expiring, Inter wanted me so much and Roma told me they wouldn’t extend my deal.
“I saw a lot of confidence in me and that they know and think that I can still give a lot. I met Steven Zhang a few years ago in Milan and he asked me if I imagined I could play for Inter.
“Last year, I saw him after the game against Inter and they were already the Italian champions. I congratulated him and he told me that I could have won the Scudetto.”
Simone Inzaghi has replaced Antonio Conte at San Siro and the former Lazio coach has previously been a rival of Dzeko.
“In recent years, he has done great things at Lazio,” he said. “I hope that from now on, both of us will continue to do them after the championship we deservedly won last year.”
Dzeko was brought in to replace Lukaku, who re-joined Chelsea this summer, but the Bosnian doesn’t feel the pressure of living up to the Belgian’s legacy.
“He has given a lot to Inter in the last two years. He won the Scudetto and has done many things,” Dzeko continued. “But I don’t feel the pressure, I only think about Inter and helping the team.
“I can’t wait to play in the Champions League again. We are ready and we can’t wait.”