“My history with Roma won’t end”
Mexes: «I want to renew the contract and then win things here. We can do that now, but it’s not something I can say…»
On July 11th, fresh off the bus in Castelrotto, Mexès said: «we’ll win lo scudetto». There were no Calciopoli verdicts yet, nor did he care about any sentences. Now, you can’t get him to repeat himself, and if you wonder why you can ask Spalletti about that. But he will let you know that a tricolore sown on Roma’s shirt is worth more to him than a World Cup with France. He’s Roman, and wants to stay one. For Roma’s sake, he’s ready to call up Trezeguet, to shut up the racists who makes noices at friends of his, to turn down even Real Madrid, even if it’s an obvious choice for him: between Spalletti and Capello there’s no competition. Because what he has with his coach his virtually a love story. And with Roma and the fans it is a complete love story: he’ll stand in Curva Sud. But first re-sign.
Philippe, Roma is in next year’s Champions League
«When it really is that way, when it is confirmed, we’ll think about celebrating, but for now there’s no definite word. You live and see what happens».
But has Roma earnt a place in the Champions League?
«Listen, we’ve done good things, but Fiorentina and others came in ahead of us, which means that we still have to work to get to the Champions League. It means that we have to work, to give continuity».
Are you pleased that Lazio are in serie B?
(He pauses.) «Pleased, no, because playing the derby is fantastic, a beautiful thing, and besides the players doesn’t come into the picture».
Will you tell Curva Nord to shut up again?
«That was an instinctive gesture…from the heart»
How is it for a Frenchman to see this scandal in Italian football?
«Surprising, but nothing more. I’ve had plenty of problems in the past, where I was told that I didn’t want anything to with a single thing that wasn’t kicking a ball. A foreigner will have a terrible view of Italian football now, but you’re talking to one who came especially to play in serie A. One who came to Rome».
And after a year you conquered the city, even if your native country is ungrateful towards you: did you not being called up for the World Cup have anything to do with Guy Roux, the French Moggi?
«I was really hurt by that. Roux is the coach of a small team with very little money, and as a result he’s always tried to earn as much as he can. I’ve never said anything against him, but in the end he made me pay, and I wasn’t called up for the World Cup».
Who did you support in Italy-France?
«My family supported Italy, they felt bad for me that I wasn’t there. But I felt sorry for Zidane».
How does Philippe Mexès see the Materazzi-Zidane incident?
«In the end you are a man, it happens, it happened to me as well against Dinamo Kiev: it’s the only thing I feel remorseful about. A lot of things happen on the pitch».
Is it common with insults during the game?
«It isn’t common, but it happens».
After Zidane’s red card he was defended by an entire nation, while De Rossi was crucified: why?
«It was Zizou’s last game, it was the end of it and it can’t end like that. Daniele is young and has plenty of time to understand, but no one forgives youngsters, especially here in Italy. And I don’t know why that is. However, now Daniele is a World Champion».
Totti and Perrotta as well…
«They criticised Francesco without cutting him slack for the three months he spent in hospital…he deserves this World Cup. And Simone is great: now, everyone knows his name.».
Would you prefer to win lo scudetto with Roma or the World Cup with France?
«Lo scudetto with Roma».
Are you Roman?
Will we win lo scudetto? At the first day of summer camp here in Castelrotto you said so.
(Smiles) «Mister killed me for that, now I won’t say anything. It’s a dream, we’re working to make it happen».
How is Roma doing after the vacation?
«It’s a little early still, we’re missing three world champions. But the spirit is the same as that of last year».
Have you heard anything about David Trazeguet, they’re saying that…
«No, but if you give me the number I’ll call him».
Signings: how many does Roma need?
«It’s not my place to say, the important thing is that Mister is happy. Whoever comes will find the door open».
When will you sign a new deal?
«Right now there’s the summer camp, when it’s over my agent will come to Rome for the sole purpose of prolonging the deal».
Can the fans be calm?
«Yes, I want to stay. No problems.».
The clause in your contract has expired, right?
«I don’t know, it doesn’t interest me. All I know is that I have a contract for two years, the rest I don’t think about».
Is it true that a lot of other teams has been interested in you, and that–if only for being correct–you and your agent Jouanneaux at least wanted to hear them out?
If I insist: did you really prefer Roma to Manchester United?
«Yes, I have plenty of things to give and to learn in this city, in this team. I’m in my third season now, and last year went well, it was great for me, but it’s not enough; I have to give even more».
Do you prefer Roma also over Real Madrid, where Franco Baldini is…?
«He brought me to Rome, but now he’s not here. He hasn’t called me, there’s no risk. I’m great here».
There’s also Fabio Capello, who ran away yet another time.
«That’s his problem. When I came here, he went away. For sure I know Spalletti better. For sure, Spalletti is better than Capello».
It almost seems like you’re in love with Mister?
«We’re not in love, but we’re comfortable together».
A question of feeling then: what does he have that is so special?
«You tell me, even you journalists like him, the women, everyone does. He has personality, he’s always there to help, a will to always be available, to experience all situations together. Even those who doesn’t get to play, he assures: they’re a part of Roma».
What did you say yesterday before training: it was the first time you talked in this retreat?
«To stay calm and not think about Champions, because it isn’t certain, and because it’s only right that we think of the work we need to do. Here we have the spirit and the will, the only thing that matters is that we remember that without our teammates we can’t do a single thing: you play this game with 23, not 11».
Have you formed any pact in the dressing room?
«None, there’s no need for one».
Will the dinners continue?
«Yes, they brought nothing but good. We’ll have the next one when we return to Rome».
Do you feel like a leader of this team?
«Here we’re all leaders, we have three world champions, we all have to be one: I feel like a leader, as Chivu, as Panucci».
The leader who shuts up the racists in Florence, would you do that again?
«I’d do it all again».
Is it because in France, certain things are less acceptable?
«It isn’t the country, it’s the man. Everyone has their own personality».
What about Alvarez?
«Alva makes you smile, he’s very nice and I like seeing him so expressive, so happy to be here with us. Nobody can touch him, he’s our mascot, and the fans’ mascot. It’s like that; he’s small, he’s fast and he makes me happy».
It seems you have great rapport with Chivu as well?
«There’s that with everyone. We’re doing good, we’ve created strong rapports that can’t be moved even if someone doesn’t play. Matteo (Ferrari, ndr) for example is a great person, and really a great guy who always works and never says anything. He’s always given everything he has in his heart. You understand? A team».
Among its idols, after Totti the romanisti see Mexès…
«Oh God, me an idol! Well…for me the people is always a pleasure, it’s always nice to meet the fans. I’ve always done that, I’ve always felt it, even when things were doing bad for us».
Any tactical news at Castelrotto in 2006? Are there any? And is it true than Daniele Baldini is the defensive coach?
«Yes, we’re working with him: he’s watched every goal we let in last year, and those in the World Cup. He’ll identify where the error is, what we have to do to change it, the movement, the positioning. Last year we had nothing like that».
Say someting to the fans.
«Follow us, always be behind us and we will do everything for them».
Would you like to go to Curva Sud some time?
«It would be a pleasure. I saw Checco [Totti] go there. When I saw him, the hair on my arms stood up».
Do you know who won lo scudetto after the 1982 World Cup?
«So Spalletti will kill me if I say we’re going to win lo scudetto. I can’t say that anymore, but it would be beautiful. But I can’t say that word to you».
Then he takes the pitch to train, and the fans sing “we’ll win the tricolor”. But you can’t say that…