Torino and Italy front-man Andrea Belotti spoke in length with Gazzetta dello Sport on his career so far, his celebration and coaching preferences amongst other things.
The 22-year-old started out saying,
My father told me: ‘If you don’t leave the pitch absolutely exhausted, it means you haven’t given it your all.’ I like to work hard, It was tough when I was 16 and saw my friends all go out clubbing, but I had to go to bed early almost in tears because I had to play the next day. I also preferred the hard way by turning down Sampdoria and Verona, taking the risk of playing in Serie B.
He then moved on to speak about moving to Palermo from AlbinoLeffe,
When I moved to Palermo, I agreed to cut my wages by €400,000 because they couldn’t spend too much on someone coming from the third division. I was using that money as an investment, a bet on myself.
His current employers Torino were the next topic in the conversation,
Toro always let me work in peace, even when I wasn’t scoring at the start. I wore the captain’s armband once against Fiorentina and that was an emotional moment, but at Toro we all consider ourselves captains.
Family is clearly important to El Gallo, whose exploits have allowed one of his parents to retire,
I don’t feel that I’m particularly stingy, but I do save up because one day I’ll have a family to maintain. I am more eager to be a good person than a good player.
My brother Manuel is a chef and maybe one day we’ll open a restaurant together. My mother worked ironing in a shirt company and she could never come see me play at Palermo because she had to work. I took a while to convince her to retire, because I didn’t want to offend her.
I’ll never convince my father to retire, though. When he was a builder in Milan he’d go out at 7am and return at 7pm with his knees wrecked, but would still start playing. Even now when he has four weeks off, he rests for one and tries to find something to do for the other three.
Belotti then shared what he lives by,
My motto is Michael Jordan’s quote and I have it tattooed on my arm: ‘Limits, like fears, are often illusions.’
Comparisons have been drawn between Belotti and some Italian greats including Ciccio Graziani, Roberto Boninsegna and Gianluca Vialli to name just a few. Furthermore he shared his hero and ones he’s studied,
I went back to see many of their goals and perhaps the one I am closest to is Graziani. I am not just saying that because, like him, I play for Toro.
My hero was Andriy Shevchenko. I went to San Siro with my brother Manuel and it was like watching some kind of Saint. Diego Maradona could’ve been on the pitch and I would only see Shevchenko.
I’ve studied so many strikers. I’d love to have the cool head of Mario Gomez, the ability to shake off defenders of Fernando Torres, physicality of Didier Drogba and movement of Sergio Aguero.
With Belotti’s international call-up, he is reunited with former Granata boss Giampiero Ventura, who really grew Belotti as a player in their time together,
He repeated the same phrase he told me when we first met at Toro: ‘If you want it, you can do it.’ He taught me how many different ways there are to see a game and how many choices I can make. I love Coaches who push you to do more, like Sinisa Mihajlovic. I listen to him before a match and he fires up something within me. I am even ok when he blasts me for getting something wrong. That too is in a way motivation and I do not get offended.
Belotti then took time explaining his celebration and its roots, pets and marital plans with his fiancee,
The first time I did the rooster’s comb gesture was because I promised it to my friend Yuri Gallo. My aunt then told me that when I was a kid, I’d come to the farm to gather eggs, but instead would just chase the chickens around.
I love animals and the Jack Russell dog I share with my girlfriend Giorgia is like a son to us. I proposed to her by putting the ring on the nose of our dog, Angi. We’ll get married in Palermo, her hometown, on June 8 2017. He seems like he can talk. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing the rooster gesture after a goal. It’s also a way of fighting back to those who say one day I’ll get big-headed, because I never will. A lifetime founded on the presumption of your ‘status’ creates nothing but false relationships.
Belotti concluded the interview humbly saying,
I want people to still see the Andrea of my hometown Gorlago, because I haven’t changed a bit.