Garcia and Totti speak before their Champions League match

Manager Rudi Garcia and captain Francesco Totti spoke before tomorrow’s Champions League encounter with CSKA Moscow:

For Garcia: Mister Garcia, what are the difficulties this match presents?
“We fought so hard to be in the Champions League, we have to enjoy it. CSKA is not the weakest team in the group at this time, they’ve played seven games, while we’ve only played two, I am confident that my team will be 100% physically and mentally. We have to enjoy it with our fans, we will do everything possible to get all three points from the match.”

For Totti: Is this the strongest Roma you’ve ever played with?
“It’s not easy to make a comparison, I’ve played with great players, with a different Roma, that of Capello’s, with Spalletti and then that of Garcia’s. Hopefully going forward as much as possible I think this is enough. Hopefully I can do better than what was done with Spalletti’s.”

For Garcia: What difficulties can CSKA create?
“In the Champions League, there are not teams of low levels, they have European experience, much more than ours, we will exploit the fact that we’re playing at home with all of our fans, they have talent and speed, we have to impose our game and be effective during the important moments of the match.”

For Totti: What’s it like to in a Champions League match at this age?
“I feel fortunate, I believe in myself, I am happy with what I’ve done and what I’m doing. I hope to continue to give so much for the jersey. As your age passes you don’t want to hear the truth but I will be the first to put it aside when I’m not able to make anything more, it’s a game unlike any other, being back in the Champions gratifies me and the team, we have to play these games every year.”

For Totti: How do you see Italian football? Is it like a broken toy?
“You come up against stronger opponents in Europe than in Italy. They have top-quality players so it’s easier for them to win. There are strong Italian teams in Europe, before there was Juve, Milan, and Inter from a few years ago.”

For Totti: Was the sale of Benatia a liberating experience for the dressing room?
“A little bit, we all tried to keep him, but the final word rests with the player, he wanted to leave and the club has made its choice, he’s the past. He’s a great guy, but it’s a closed chapter.”

For Totti: Is the team following the Atletico model?
“On the field we will have our say, we will try in every way to make a good impression, we know how to play. Then we’ll face the strong and worthy teams, but we will try and hope to do what has been done by Atletico Madrid, it wouldn’t hurt.”

For Totti: Eremenko will ask you for your shirt…
“Fortunately I have many admirers in Europe who follow me, it means that Roma has done well in Europe.”

For Garcia: How important is the calender?
“Surely the two-legged match against CSKA is important for the fact that we’ll be in Russia during the winter. I’ve done that in the past and it went well, we won 2-0. The fact that we begin and end at home is important for me, there are our fans. I hope for a fiery Olimpico, as full as possible. Not only can it help the team, but also it can annoy the opposing team. We must follow the Curva Sud on this stage.”

The Editor of, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including,, and ESPN.