/Joao Mario: ‘I’ve grown up’

Joao Mario: ‘I’ve grown up’

Joao Mario said he has “grown up a great deal” since his last Inter appearance and thanked the fans after his surprise start against Lazio.

The last Nerazzurri fans saw of the Portugal international was in a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on January 5.

He was shipped off to West Ham United on loan, then couldn’t find a club prepared to pay for him over the summer, so remained on the bench.

That is until this evening, when Joao Mario was surprisingly picked in the starting XI for the 3-0 victory over Lazio.

“I prepared well and am trying to train to the max every day in order to earn this opportunity,” the 25-year-old said on Sky Sport Italia.

“The most important thing is to be ready. It was my turn in this game and I am very happy.”

It’s a far cry from the player signed for €40m from Sporting CP in 2016 and who declared only a few months ago that he didn’t like Italian football.

“I have grown up a great deal. It is in moments of difficulty that you really grow up as a person and I’ve been through a lot of those. I try to do better, become another person and another player.

“I said that I wanted to transform the jeers of the fans into applause. I am happy the supporters gave me this gift of applause as I left the field and I thank them.

“Now it’ll be important for me to be ready at all times, so I’ll keep working hard.”

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