‘The insults hurt the most’ – Dzeko fires back at criticism

Edin Dzeko has admitted he gets hurt by claims he does not work hard enough and dismissed the idea as “a joke”.

The Roma striker topped the Serie A goal chart last season with 29 and has started the new campaign in excellent form, scoring seven in as many games in the league.

However, the 31-year-old is surprised that he still faces regular criticism from fans over a perceived lack of interest during games and feels social media makes it easy for people to forget footballers are human.

“I don’t run? I don’t give my best? Come on! That is a joke,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

“I can guarantee that no one in the stands or in front of the TV wants us to win games more than I do! Any match, I don’t care who we play against or what we play for, I just want to score a goal or my team to score a goal so that we win the match. Every match I give my very best. Every single match.

“I know people will criticise when you play bad; that is part of this job and I am fine with that. That is not a problem. The problem is the insults. That is what hurts the most. This is the time of social media and everyone has a chance to publicly say what they think. No matter how illogical or stupid it is. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, everyone is entitled to insult you because you did not score or play well.

“People think that they care more than I do – but that is simply not true.

“It’s never easy to read headlines like that, to hear fans shouting things like that. You know that you are better than that, that you can play much better, but sometimes it is difficult to turn things around. What people do not see is that you are a human being too and that you have problems like everyone else.

“I would lie if I tell you that I don’t listen or read what people say. I do. I ignore the insults and irrational things but I like to watch and read what educated football people have to say, people who analyse things, especially in Italy. They know football, they try to do it in depth and as someone involved in the game I do enjoy some articles or programmes.”

Edin Dzeko Roma

Edin Dzeko, Inter vs. Roma

After finishing second to Juventus in Serie A last season, Roma are already nine points off the pace of leaders Napoli, while they sit second in their Champions League group ahead of Wednesday’s game against Chelsea.

Dzeko 6/4 to score v Chelsea

The team are feeling the pressure to improve and challenge for titles from their passionate fans and the ex-Manchester City attacker enjoys the ambition within the city and the club.

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“Nothing compares to Rome. Nothing,” he added. “People there are crazy about football, in a positive way. The expectations were big in Germany, bigger in England, but nothing even close to Rome. It’s a special city, with a special bond with a club and people adore it.

“In Manchester I could go out for a dinner or for a walk; people would stop me and politely ask for a photo from time to time. In Rome it is impossible for me to walk normally in the city. They are passionate, love their club and their players and the attention is enormous. And that kind of attention and passion raises expectations and pressure. But I am not saying this in a negative way.

“I love how things work there, because passion and love is what football is supposed to be about.”

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Goal Star Strikers: Dybala, Cavani and Kane amongst picks to score this weekend

Picking seven players across Europe to score this weekend should be fairly straightforward, right?

If you think you have what it takes, head to Goal Star Strikers, make your selections and play to win some fantastic prizes!

For more information, or to pick your players, simply click here – or keep reading to see who we picked for this weekend.

GFX GOAL STAR STRIKERS IPHONE IMAGERY

Edinson Cavani

Putting Paris Saint-Germain’s off-field troubles aside, the Ligue 1 leaders are absolutely flying right now and have won seven of their eight league games. Their holy triumvirate of Neymar, Cavani and Kylian Mbappe has been a major factor in that, and this week they travel to Dijon – who have the worst defence in the league – meaning the Uruguayan star should be able to add to his eight goals this season.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane Tottenham

The England striker has netted 15 times in his last 10 for club and country, and with Spurs facing Bournemouth this week, it is very difficult to bet against the 24-year-old who faces a team languishing in 19th position. It is also worth noting that Kane has netted in all three games he has played against the Cherries, scoring six against them in total.

Paulo Dybala

The Argentine, fresh from watching Lionel Messi hit a hat trick in Ecuador in midweek, is Serie A’s top scorer with 10 goals and although he missed a late penalty at Atalanta last time out, Dybala will relish facing Lazio. Whilst the capital outfit are in fourth place in the league, the forward has netted nine times against them in his career – more than he has against any other club.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich 160917

Seemingly over his tantrum from the end of last season in which Lewandowski blamed his teammates for him not scoring enough, the Poland striker has already notched eight times this campaign even amidst uncertainty within the club. Bayern are far from the dominant side they usually are, but their main man has scored 12 times in 11 games against Freiburg and with the form he’s in, he’s a reasonably safe bet here.

Edin Dzeko

Bosnian striker Dzeko has come a long way since being a super-sub at Man City. In fact, he’s come so far that he is now on the 23-man Ballon d’Or shortlist after a brilliant last 12 months at AS Roma. This weekend they host free-scoring Napoli, but coming off such a nomination, Dzeko will be in the mood to add to his seven league goals this campaign.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City

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After going seven games without a goal to start the season, De Bruyne scored in Man City’s last two games prior to the international break and has been in fine form all campaign. The Belgian faces Stoke City this weekend, a side that have conceded 11 times in their seven games and do not look particularly well-equipped to deal with the Citizens’ potent attack.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Gabon striker Aubameyang is the Bundesliga’s top scorer this term, bagging eight goals and adding another three in the domestic cup. Dortmund are unbeaten this season, having won six of their matches, and if they are to beat Red Bull Leipzig in their first real test of the season in the league, they will need Aubameyang to be on top form.

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Qarabag 1 Roma 2: Historic Pedro Henrique goal not enough for hosts

Edin Dzeko sealed a 2-1 win for Roma against Qarabag, who became the first team from Azerbaijan to score in the Champions League.

An historic goal from Pedro Henrique was not enough to prevent Qarabag slipping to a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Roma in Baku.

The Brazilian became the first player for a team from Azerbaijan to score in the competition outside of qualifiers, but earlier goals from Kostas Manolas and Edin Dzeko were enough to give the visitors the win.

Qarabag shipped six in their opening Group C match against Chelsea and will have feared the worst when Manolas headed in after just seven minutes, before Dzeko netted a second before a quarter of an hour had been played.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side, who were held by Atletico Madrid on matchday one, eased off at 2-0 and allowed Qarabag to snatch a lifeline with a goal in the first Champions League match to be staged in the country.

Gurban Gurbanov’s men were arguably the better side for much of the rest of the match but were unable to test Alisson in the Roma goal, allowing the Serie A side to make it four points from two games.

They move top of the group but could be supplanted depending on the result between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea in the Spanish capital. Qarabag, meanwhile, stay bottom.

Roma took full advantage of a goalkeeping error from Ibrahim Sehic to take the lead seven minutes in. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international punched a corner straight to the feet of Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose cross was expertly steered into the bottom-corner by Manolas’ diving header.

The visitors doubled their lead eight minutes later, with Dzeko controlling Stephan El Shaarawy’s flick into the box before blasting in off the crossbar from close range for Roma’s 100th Champions League goal.

Roma seemed to let complacency creep in after Dzeko’s strike, allowing Qarabag to spring dangerous counter-attacks on two occasions after losing the ball to the home side’s good pressing game.

They failed to heed the warnings and were duly punished on 28 minutes, with Dino Ndlovu robbing Maxime Gonalons and feeding Pedro Henrique in the box, who steadied himself before firing past Alisson from 12 yards out.

The home side, buoyed by their historic goal, continued to match Roma for intensity in the early part of the second half, although Sehic had to make a fine stop to deny Bruno Peres a third goal as he surged into the penalty area on the break.

Daniele De Rossi was introduced off the bench and the midfielder’s experience seemed to give Roma an extra measure of control, with Alisson’s goal largely untroubled despite one or two promising Qarabag moves.

Dzeko fluffed a half-volley that could have made the win safe with 10 minutes left, but the visitors eased through to full-time unscathed to claim an important win.

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‘Serie A will be better this year’ – Dzeko praises new Roma signings

The striker believes that there will be more quality in Italy’s top flight but hinted that he still believes Juve are the team to beat

Following their penalty shoot-out loss to Juventus on Sunday, Edin Dzeko praised Roma’s moves in the transfer market, but it is uncertain whether the gap in Serie A has closed.

Roma to win Serie A – 9/1

Dzeko scored the equaliser against Juve at the International Champions Cup before voicing his support for the arrivals of Aleksandar Kolarov and Cengiz Under.

Former team-mates at Manchester City, Kolarov and Dzeko have particularly connected well, with the Serbian defender providing the assist for the Bosnian during the 1-1 draw in Foxborough.

“We know each other well,” Dzeko said afterwards. “He provided many assists for me in the Premier League.

“He is a very strong player, who helps this Roma and I’m glad he came here.”

Juve can’t expect Serie A breeze

On Cengiz, who netted his penalty in the 5-4 shoot-out loss, Dzeko believes he has raw talent and can eventually be a positive addition.

“He is very strong, and we have already seen that which is why Roma bought him,” he said. “He has a lot of quality, and he is still young, meaning he can learn and improve here.”

Despite taking last season’s title winners to penalties, the 31-year-old was noncommittal on Roma’s chances in challenging for 2017-18.

“It was a pre-season game, so I don’t know if you can take a lot out of it,” Dzeko said.

“Juve remains a strong team, and other teams have bought a lot of players, but I think Serie A will be better this year.

“We did well and we have trained very well in America. I think we are ready for the new season, but we still have 20 days to go.”

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