How is your life in Rome?
I wake up early to get there as soon as I can, to do a little but in the gym and get into the office. I take advantage of the fact that the first team, the youth teams and the people in my department are there. It's like that, until 20:00 or 21:00 every day.
And how is AS Roma?
A community with background and a much bigger media effect than I expected. It's true that they have not won much for a long time in their history but it has the pressure of a big team. The people always hope for big things for Roma.
One of the successful things in Sevilla was not just to sign good players but to explain to them the significance of wearing the jersey. Di Francesco player with Roma, De Sanctis too, Totti... It's not a coincidence, right?
Nothing is a coincidence, for sure. The special character of the club makes it essential to know the club. Di Francesco won the Scudetto here, De Sanctis player here... We like that they have a linked past with Roma. Balzaretti always worked with me. And Totti... Totti is Roma.
Are your legs still trembling from the time you had to talk to him about his future?
(Laughs) No... you have to put yourself in the context of that. For me, it was not an ideal scenario to have to explain to a player not to continue.... I am not ignorant to the weight Totti has here. But I believe the best was to behave with sincerity. Totti is a close person, sensitive and he has the enthusiasm to learn and to help in his new task.
"Nobody should give us up for dead," he said after the draw. Is it wrong for Barcelona to think this is a done deal and they will qualify comfortably?
Well, what you say well doesn't mean you feel it. However, I saw comments based in a lack of awarenessbut I try to focus on showing the people the chance we have. Obviously, based on percentages, Barcelona are heavy favourites. But I liked the statement made by Montell after the draw threw up Sevilla vs Bayern. He said, "If there is even one percent chance, we will fight."
In Roma, they speak about that final they lost at home in 1984.
I summarise it like this: Roma are hungry for titles. There is a special kind of hope and extra motivation for this game. There is something that I like to say after 11 months here and it is that Roma need to balance the level of their (business) structure with the level of impact they have. Believe me, it is very high.
If you could sign one player from Barcelona who would it be?
I would take a few of them. Sergio Busquets isn't bad either, no? (laughs). He is player at his highest level too.
You were 29 at Sevilla when you felt you had to go. Do you understand Iniesta going to China?
Andrés still has a football career at the elite level. Maybe he can't play 50 games but the ones he does play will be of the highest standard. Nobody has his footballing knowledge. The possibility of his leaving is personal. The only thing you can say as a Spanish person is that it would be a massive loss.
The model at Sevilla was groundbreaking. You changed the model to turn extraordinary sales into the norm. Will you do the same in Roma?
Yes. I am also changing but I try to transmit my concepts. In all forms, I said it a while ago: the thing that bolsters a policy is when it works.
The technical secretary for Barcelona, Robert, finishes his contract this summer. Do you imagine yourself as the sporting director of Barcelona?
I never imagine myself in situations that are not real and so I haven't imagined it or not imagined it. I am focused on the club and adapting a new way to be and to live.
You have always been a very emotional person. Are you happy in Roma?
Those who know me know that I don't say I am happy very often. I have rarely had complete happiness. Here, in Roma, obviously I can't have complete happiness because my family is not here. And at a sporting level, if you don't win, you can't be happy either. If I am happy on a professional level, I believe that I am growing at a professional level. But of course, that has to settled with sporting success.