Nicolo Zaniolo is hoping to savour a childhood dream after his goal secured Roma the Europa Conference League title on Wednesday, defeating Feyenoord 1-0.
Zaniolo’s goal proved the difference in a tightly-contested final in Tirana, chesting down Gianluca Manini’s pass over the Feyenoord defence to poke the ball home past Justin Bijlow in the 32nd minute.
The 22-year-old scored the hat-trick to ignite the Giallorossi’s comeback against Bodo/Glimt in the quarter-final second leg, making his winner in Tirana that much more fitting.
Post-match, he was adamant Roma can build something lasting upon this maiden European triumph.
After losses in the 1984 European Cup and 1991 UEFA Cup finals.
“It’s all wonderful, we want to enjoy this moment,” Zaniolo told Sky Sports Italia. “I made my dream as a child come true, winning a European competition.
“There are no words, the fans are fantastic, and the victory is all for them. After this victory, something important is being born. We are strong and we have not yet understood how much.
“I dedicate the goal and the victory to my whole family – my father, mother, grandmother, everyone. They have always been close to me.”
The Giallorossi absorbed and defended for the majority of the match after Zaniolo’s goal.
Still, more than the nature of the performance, the victory has an added dimension for captain Pellegrini.
Before two seasons with Sassuolo, the 25-year-old progressed through Roma’s academy, grew up supporting the club and eventually returned.
Pellegrini admitted it was hard to process the achievement with that in mind, but wanted to taste more success with the club.
Pellegrini told Sky Sport Italia:
“We are a real team, and we proved that.
“Now we have to celebrate and then start again, which is always difficult after a great victory.
“But a real team wins, celebrates and starts again.
“I said yesterday that I never would’ve imagined at the age of 25 to achieve this with the Roma jersey and the captain’s armband. It is a wonderful moment.
“Now we must celebrate, fix this moment in our minds and make it happen again in future.”
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