Sergio Romero during a 2019/20 home kit shoot.

Romero: We look for the derbies on fixtures day!

Hugely experienced goalkeeper Sergio Romero is poised to begin his fifth season at Manchester United in 2019/20.

We recently caught up with the man affectionately known as ‘Chiqi’ to find out which fixtures he’ll be seeking out first when the Premier League schedule is revealed on Thursday, as well as his thoughts on English football’s first ever winter break.
 
When the fixture list comes out, is there a particular game that you look for straight away like Manchester City or Liverpool?
 
“No, the first thing I look at is who we’re playing first, the first game of the season, because that’s the day that we have to aim to be at our best physically and mentally and then after, of course, we look at the derbies, when we’re playing City home and away, or Liverpool or Arsenal. I think every player looks at when we’re going to face the big teams.”
United lift Europa League trophy in 2017.
Sergio was famously between the sticks when we clinched our last major trophy – the 2017 Europa League.
In which part of the summer do you start to set yourself up and get excited for the new season?
 
“After the first two weeks of a pre-season tour, because these are normally really long, you’re away from home for a long time, a lot of time without being with your wife and kids. But, of course, you know that when you return home, it’s because the Premier League is about to start. There’s only a week or five days left, so yeah, I think that moment is when you really start to process everything that you worked on in the pre-season, thinking about the first game.”
 
When you’re on holiday do you ever kick a ball or is do you just completely switch off?
 
“I switch off! When I go on holiday, normally I don’t play football or, if I play, I play very little with my friends. But I enjoy playing basketball. I play it with my wife, one v one and games like that, so yeah, I prefer basketball when I'm on holiday. But if there are competitions like the Euros or any other tournament going on, if I can watch a game, I will.”
What’s the first day of training like when you get back to the Aon Training Complex and you see all the coaches and your team-mates again?
 
“I think the nicest thing when you return is seeing the people that you spend the year with again, people that you’ve been getting closer to over the years. Normally clubs don’t change players much, they don’t really change, a few come and go but, yeah, we are people that have known each other for two, three or four years and it’s always nice to see each other again and start looking ahead again, into the future. We know we have another season ahead of us, with new objectives, or we simply want to have a better season than the last. I think it's always the key moment to start off a good year.”
 
What do you think about there being a winter break, next February, for the first time in England?
 
“Putting it into perspective, it’s always good, it’s always important. I was in the Dutch league, where we knew that the final game of the season was 23 December and we’d have a break until 24 January when we’d start playing again. [In that month between games] we had 10 or 12 days free to recharge our energy for the second half of the season. In Italy, it was a few days less than 12 days, you get eight or nine days off. It’s always good when you have a little break, because you can recharge your energy, distract your mind a little and then focus on the second half of the season, which is the most important period of the season. The team has to be strong and giving 100 per cent to get the results that they need to until the end of the season.”
Sergio Romero says

"It’s always nice to start looking ahead again into the future, with new objectives. Pre-season is always the key moment to start off a good year."

Finally, do you have a message for the United fans ahead of the new season?
 
“The message is the same as always: we will try to do the best we can, we will try to be better than last season. This year we didn’t win any trophies; next season we want to win a trophy, take the club to the highest position we can. You are already used to us winning and celebrating and we want this too: to keep celebrating and winning and trying to be the best we can.”
 
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