Inter striker Edin Dzeko said he didn’t feel the pressure to replace Romelu Lukaku, admitting he was “ready to give anything for Jose Mourinho, but then …”
The veteran joined the Nerazzurri ahead of the new season after spending six years with Roma and playing 260 competitive games with the Giallorossi.
Speaking to Amazon Prime ahead of today’s opening game against Real Madrid in the Champions League, the Bosnian international spoke about his nicknames Lautaro Martinez, Roma, Inter, Simone Inzaghi and Lukaku.
“The Sarajevo Swan is a nickname I like,” he told Amazon Prime. “I’ve heard it in these six years, and there have been more and more in the last month.
“For many children in Bosnia during the war, childhood was not easy. But people came out a lot stronger and I didn’t expect to be athletic who I am today.
“In human terms, yes, because thanks to my parents I became a man first and foremost.”
Dzeko joined Roma from Manchester City and spoke about his time with Sergio Aguero at the Citizens. Now he plays with another Argentine at Inter and believes he can form a good partnership with Lautaro.
“Great players can always play together and I had a great time with Agüero,” he said. “Just like he did with me.
“If I and Lautaro do what we did back then, I’ll be happy. Lautaro is a great player and we hope we can do great things for Inter.
In his six years at La Lupa in the Italian capital, Dzeko scored 119 goals and contributed 55 assists.
“Rome is a very difficult place,” he said. “[Luciano] Spalletti is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. On the first day, at the end of training, he took me to my games with City and told me which movements I needed to improve.
“We worked a lot with the movements, with the shots. That helped me to become the top scorer. “
Dzeko has a great memory of the Champions League with Roma when he made it through to the knockout stage after losing 4-1 to Blaugrana.
“We said we had to try, but then we couldn’t have imagined it would be possible to score three goals after losing 4-1 to Barcelona.
“We told ourselves to try because the fans were with us. The first goal changed everything because it came very early. We didn’t realize what our options were because Liverpool were stronger, but we did well.
“We threw the first one away, if things had gone differently, anything could have happened.”
Dzeko announced that he expects to stay with the Roma and is ready to “give everything” for the Giallorossi.
“I didn’t expect to come because I had another year with Roma,” he said. “I told coach Mourinho that I would have given anything for the Roma, even if I didn’t like a lot in the last six months.
“But I have a lot of respect for Mourinho and the Roma, who gave me so much, and I can only say thank you.
“But then my contract expired, Inter wanted me so badly and Roma told me they would not renew my contract.
“I saw a lot of trust in myself and that they know and think that I can still give a lot. I met Steven Zhang in Milan a few years ago and he asked me if I could imagine playing for Inter.
“I saw him after the game against Inter last year and they were already Italian champions. I congratulated him and he told me that I could have won the Scudetto.
Simone Inzaghi has replaced Antonio Conte at San Siro and the former Lazio coach was previously a rival for Dzeko.
“He has done great things at Lazio in the last few years,” he said. “I hope that from now on we will both carry on after the championship that we deserved to win last year.”
Dzeko has been installed to replace Lukaku, who returned to Chelsea this summer, but the Bosnian does not feel pressured to live up to the Belgian’s legacy.
“He has given Inter a lot over the past two years. He won the Scudetto and did a lot of things, ”continued Dzeko. “But I don’t feel any pressure, I just think of Inter and the help for the team.
“I can’t wait to play in the Champions League again. We are ready and can hardly wait. “