Do you feel you’re close to breaking through?
I’m not far but, at the same time, it’s still far off. I have to work very hard here at United. Even the biggest player is never settled [in terms of his place] and there are always challenges in front of them. It’s the same for everyone.
Do you feel settled in Manchester?
I love it. I really love it. It’s just the weather! I still don’t like the weather because I like the sunshine. I think if you had the Italian sunshine here, you would have the best part of the world. It’s not always sunny in Rome, but it’s definitely more sunny than here.
We have a few Italian lads here – has that been a benefit for you?
Very much. I was already friends with Kiko [Federico Macheda] before coming here. We are like brothers. I was a Roma player and he was at Lazio, but it doesn’t matter because we were friends and together for Italy. We lived close to each other. Even if we were playing for different teams, we were very close and he and his family helped me so much. They made me feel at home. There’s also [Alberto] Massacci and [Michele] Fornasier – we enjoy spending time together.
Was it a culture shock for you coming to England from Italy?
It was so difficult at the beginning. I didn’t speak English and didn’t know anyone. The weather – oh my god, it was horrible! It was so hard; everything was new and the football was different. I’d to go to Kiko’s house and eat Italian food and spend time with them. I got an English teacher and slowly learned the language.
Which other players helped you to settle?
Rio [Ferdinand] really helped. As did Giggsy. Patrice Evra was good to me too, as he speaks Italian. Everyone was kind and I liked that.
Being out injured must have been difficult...
It was a nightmare. It was horrible and so frustrating. There was nothing I could do – I tried everything and anything, but nothing worked. Then I met some people and United helped me a lot as well and I got through that. And now I feel so good.
Your tackling shows how powerful you’ve become…
It’s good when you win a tackle. It’s a great feeling to help your team. Sometimes you can make a good pass, but sometimes a good tackle is just as important.