Marco Verratti: 'Do even better next season'
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder gives his thoughts and impressions of the season past and looks ahead to 2018/19.
Marco, Paris made a brilliant start to the season. Did the team hit top form too soon?
"No, I don't think so. We started the season very well, and that enabled us to pick up a lot of points in the league and Champions League very quickly. We quickly showed what we were capable of and we maintained that form for many months. We should be proud of our run in the league and the Champions League. It's a very difficult competition to win, it's our ambition to win it one day, but to do that you have to quite simply be the best team. Real have won it the last three season, it's not an accident or by chance, they also have a lot of experience in the competition. We have to keep working, look for faults, correct them and do better next season."
What was the best moment of the Champions League campaign?
"Without doubt the home match against Bayern. It was a big game against a big team, also for the fans, who stood up to be counted. We played really well, we scored some great goals...I think that was my favourite moment."
As for the league title, you could feel the squad were fully committed to the cause...
"I think last season reminded us just how difficult it is to win the league. Nothing can be taken for granted. This season, we played every game to the max, never let our heads drop, and we quickly built up a lead playing some good football. From outside, it might seems simple, but we know the sacrifices and effort we have had to make to achieve that. We're very happy with our season, we won the title and the two national cup competitions. We have reason to be proud."
Thiago Motta retired at the end of the season. Do you remember your first meeting with him?
"Yes. The first time was with the national team in 2012. I was called up by Italy and met him then. He had a playing style that was unique in Europe. He's one of those players who has a real intelligence in his play, he's technical, he played simply and effectively. What surprised me most was his simplicity. Motta changed the face of the team."
Tell us about your special relationship with Thiago...
"He has always been very nice to me, ever since those first few moments with the national team. We didn't know we'd meet up in Paris. He very quickly put me at ease. More than being a great player, he's a great man. I think that every player who has played with him has learned something from him. He always has a word to help his team-mates, and to have played with him and to have known him personally is a privilege."