Jonathan: "Mazzarri has chosen me and I have to repay him"


The defender on InterNOS: "The coach is a straight shooter and looks you in the eye. He gives you confidence and makes you feel important"

APPIANO GENTILE – It was 17 April, Inter v Roma. Jonathan recalled the game and discussed it during the second edition of InterNOS, airing now on Inter Channel.

"It was a shame because we lost that game, but in my opinion it was the moment in which I regained confidence in myself and started to improve. Is my experience similar to that of Alvarez? Some players immediately adjust to a new team, while others need time. Ricky and I both arrived in a team full of champions, a team that had just won everything, and it wasn’t easy for us to fit in. Then when a team does well the individual players do well. But if a team does badly then everyone has done badly."

And after having looked at some photos taken with supporters in China, Jonathan spoke about his relationship with the Nerazzurri fans: "I like signing autographs and taking pictures with fans because they’re the soul of a team. They’re a crucial part of this world."

He then spoke of team-mates, past and present. Regarding comparisons with Maicon: "He’s a great player who won everything here at Inter. It’s not easy to immediately start playing well when you’ve never played in Italian football before. Of course we have different characteristics. He has his own particular qualities and I have mine. Will I also end my career at Roma? No, I hope to finish my career here. I’m happy here. Who knows if I might even become captain one day…"

On his fellow Brazilian, Wallace: "So far he hasn’t played much, but in training you can see he has the quality to play for Inter, which is why Inter brought him here. He still has some progress to make since he came from Brazil and needs to improve tactically and technically, as was the case with me. But I believe that every time he’s come into a game he’s done well. What we Brazilians lack most is the tactical side, because in Brazil football is more physical."

Jonathan then explained how Walter Mazzarri has managed to give him the confidence for his strong return: "He’s the type of person who gives it to you straight. This relationship he has with us players, when he calls you in his office and looks you in the eye, gives you a lot of confidence because he makes you feel important. And you tell yourself: the coach has chosen me, so I can’t make mistakes. I have to pay him back for his trust. Every day I think he’s a great coach because he does such important work every day."

Jonathan spoke about his childhood: "As a kid I didn’t like going to school. I always wanted to play football. If I went to school it was to see girls or play with my friends. My mother always came to get me at a pitch close to my house and she’d get angry. If I hadn’t made it as a footballer I honestly don’t know what I would have done… [laughing]. My family helped me when I wanted to leave Italy. My mother told me I would have to overcome this moment, just as I had done in Brazil."

The full-back joked that his head is his weak point, while his speed is his strong point. He doesn’t know how to cook, is superstitious and wakes up each morning telling himself he has to do his work well. And when you ask him who the number one player in the world is he has no doubts: "Messi, because everything other players do with two legs, he can do with one."

And continuing with a final question and answer exchange we learned even more about Jonathan

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Inter’?
"Right now the second most important thing for me after my family."

How will this year end?
"There’s still more to go, but I hope we can reach a Champions League place."

What mark would you give yourself for this season?
"Seven, seven and a half."

What has helped you to improve?
"Improving the tactical part of my game. Mazzarri has done very well with this, along with his staff. Every day he tells me I have to look at the ball first, then the man. That’s important for me."

Your first time at the San Siro?
"My stomach was in a knot."

Do you think about the national team?
"I think all players playing for a big club think about their national team, but at the same time I realise there are so many great players in the Brazil squad. Alves or Maicon in my position, for example. I concentrate on working hard, and should the opportunity come one day then I’d be happy."

Jonathan ended the interview with an anecdote: "In one game I really thought I needed to come off. It was Sampdoria v Inter and I slipped in the box, which had never happened to me before. I had changed my boots, thinking those particular studs would work well. However…"

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