EXCLUSIVE: Siena Striker Abdelkader Ghezzal Claims Milan Can Challenge Inter & Juventus

The Robur’s blossoming goal-scorer spoke to Goal.com Italia…

Goal.com Italia caught up with Siena striker Abdelkader Ghezzal and picked his brain on a number of relevant topics, including Siena’s prospects, the Scudetto race, Ramadan, and much more!

Read below to see our interview with the Algerian international, who scored against Milan last weekend in his side’s opener to the Serie A campaign.

Many see a Siena side that is weaker compared to last year and are a serious candidate for relegation – do you agree?

Many players have left, some of which were very important to us, such as [Daniele] Portanova, who was the pillar of our defense, not to mention [Daniele] Galloppa, [Houssine] Kharja, [Juan] Zuniga among others. However, others have arrived and I am very confident, the team is young, but I’m confident we will succeed. Against a great team like Milan, we were not dismantled. 

What caused the failure Saturday [against Milan]?

A bit of a lack of concentration. Not that we were not focused, but when you play against a great team full of champions, you cannot be distracted for a moment, otherwise you’re punished. For example, the two passes of Ronaldinho.

In the game against Milan you watched Ronaldinho, Pato, [Alessandro] Nesta and Thiago Silva very closely: What impression did they give? Are Milan at the level of Inter and Juve?

Ronaldinho and Pato are really incredible. Nesta has made a good impression, I did not think he could be already at these levels after his injury and Thiago Silva also impressed me, because he seems already used to Italian football, although it was only his first match. Personally, I think that Milan are by no means inferior to Inter and Juve and will play for the Scudetto until the end. 

After just one season in Serie A there are rumors that you are close to joining a great team like Roma. How do you feel about that?

At first I was surprised, to be honest I did not expect it. It happened so fast that I did not even realise. It made me proud of course, to be in the crosshairs of prestigious clubs is a pleasure. In the end, I remain here and I think another season in Siena can be very useful to accumulate more experience, then next year we will see. 

Which is more important, the goal against Milan or the one against Egypt?

Seriously? No doubt a goal against Egypt. The rivalry is immense between Algeria and Egypt, like a derby. The fans told me: “You can lose everything else, but we have to win against Egypt.”

In fact, since I scored against Egypt I became an idol. In Algeria at this time there is an incredible enthusiasm, we cannot even walk down the street.

If you had to go play in Algeria, which team would you choose?

I do not follow the Algerian league much, but I know that the Setif is a major club. So there maybe. 

These days we have heard discussions regarding Ramadan, how do you manage during this period?

I follow it only on days of rest. In the past I fasted all day, but some time ago I was ill, I fainted, and I have decided to try something else. Moreover, we do a job that does not coexist with Ramadan – yesterday, for example, we had double training. I could eat at 5 AM and then at 9 PM, but in the middle I would have to perform two training sessions on an empty stomach and without drinking.

How it works? Football is our job, without factoring that in it could be dangerous. Maybe if you’re not eating, after a little rest the hunger will pass, but with this heat, how can you workout and not drink? It also happens to be very hot, here you can train in more than 30 degree weather, you risk collapsing.

Is there a solution?

Maybe for training there is, you could agree a different training method with the coach, but with matches what can you do? You cannot ask to move them. That’s why I took this decision. Mind you, there are those that follow Ramadan faithfully like [Inter midfielder Sulley] Muntari, but given my bad experience I prefer not to risk being sick again.


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