Saturday, June 30, 2007

Donati's hero is STEVEN GERRARD

Massimo Donati is already convinced he made the right decision to join Celtic and is now aiming to emulate his "hero" Steven Gerrard.
Hoops fans are hoping Donati has the same sort of impact at Parkhead as fellow Italian Paolo Di Canio did more than a decade ago.
But Gordon Strachan's latest recruit insists he is more interested in emulating Liverpool and England star Gerrard.
The 26-year-old midfielder completed a £3million move from AC Milan to Celtic this week and is relishing the prospect of British football next season.
"Obviously it is every player's dream to become the supporters' idol but it is obviously more difficult for a midfielder than a striker," he said.
"My hero is Steven Gerrard and I feel that he is the model that I aspire to be and I hope to be as good as him.
"In Italy, we have a different way of playing and a midfielder normally defends, that is the position they play and that is what they are expected to do.
"I would score only one or two goals a year in Italy.
"But here I have already spoken to the manager and he is happy for me to go ahead and attack and I am looking forward to that part of the game.
"I know that my name is not that well known here but I hope it does become well known in Scotland."
Celtic reportedly fought off strong competition from Sampdoria, Palermo and Atalanta - where Donati spent last season on loan - to land the man who cost AC Milan £10million back in 2001.
Explaining his decision to snub Serie A for Scotland, Donati said: "I had many offers from many teams, even in Italy, but I wanted to play in a team which was the same level as Milan and Celtic have such prestige.
"As soon as I arrived here I realised I had made the right decision because it has been a fantastic experience so far. The 24 hours I have been here have just been wonderful."
He added: "Milan bought me when I was very young, I was only 19, and they spent a lot of money for me but they ended up loaning me out to other teams for a year.
"For three years I played in good games in a good league but I really want to play in important games and Celtic are giving me that chance to play in important games and to win, which is what I want to do."
Donati insists his confidence has not suffered as a result of his inability to hold down a first-team place at the San Siro or being farmed out on loan for the last few seasons.
In fact, he says he is relishing the opportunity Celtic have given him to prove he is good enough to play at a high level week in, week out.
He said: "I believe that results come from hard work, it has not caused me any problems with self-doubt or a loss of confidence. Milan didn't play me because they had all the other players in place.
"I believe in myself and if I didn't I wouldn't have accepted the challenge of coming to Celtic, I would have continued to play for the teams I played for in Italy.
"But I do believe in myself and I am up for the challenge of coming to Celtic."

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