Nicolò Zaniolo thanked Eusebio Di Francesco and Roberto Mancini for kick-starting his career, while he has a strong friendship with Italy teammate Moise Kean.
The 19-year-old made his senior Italy debut as a substitute in the 2-0 victory over Finland, having already played in Serie A and the Champions League this season.
“I am making so many dreams come true and the Nazionale is one of them. I hope there can be more to follow,” he told Rai Sport.
“I owe a great deal to Di Francesco, as he was among the first to believe in me, along with Mancini. He explained how I should behave, both on and off the pitch, how to talk to people. It’s sad that he left Roma, because I thought him a great Coach.
“Now there’s Claudio Ranieri and I must give my all for him. He has so much experience, knows how you need to be at Roma and has won a lot in his career.”
Zaniolo can’t seem to get away from the Francesco Totti comparisons, especially as he too made his senior Italy debut in Udine, although that was on October 10, 1998.
“Totti gives me advice on how to train, how to play, how to behave. You can tell he’s a champion off the field too. He often tells me to keep my feet on the ground and says that it takes a moment to reach the top, but it’s so hard to stay at that level.”
Kean scored his first senior Italy goal against Finland and is good friends with Zaniolo, as they played together at Under-19 and Under-21 level.
They share a room in the Italy training camp and took selfies with their ‘Broski’ tag.
“Like all other 19-year-olds, Moise likes to joke around. I know him very well, we spend a lot of time together. There are no words to describe him on the pitch and I hope he can continue like this.
“Before the match, I told him that he’d score and it came true. We have a lot of fun together and joke around, including on social media.”
Zaniolo is only a teenager and doesn’t have a driver’s licence yet, so his mother drives him to training every morning.
“My mother started crying when I made my Italy debut and my father was quite moved too. I live with her in Rome, she takes me to training and we spend a lot of time together.
“She always cries whenever anything good happens, she’s very sensitive and loves me so much. The tattoo I am most fond of is on my left thigh, as it is dedicated to my mother.”
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