Fabbian: ‘As a child, I studied Paul Pogba’


Bologna youngster Giovanni Fabbian revealed how he was ready to join Udinese from Inter, before the move collapsed at the last minute. The 20-year-old was part of a deal that would bring Lazar Samardzic to Milan, only for the transfer to fall through, allowing Fabbian to move to Bologna instead. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the youngster revealed how he had already taken medicals with Udinese ahead of the move, and also talked about his idols as a youngster, including Juve’s Paul Pogba:

Before coming on for your debut, did Thiago Motta say to you, ‘Go and score a goal’?

“Very true. He told me that and then added other things that I don’t remember. In that situation you are just with yourself, focused. You want to do well’.

Radunovic lost the ball (a big gift) and there you were…

“It doesn’t happen often actually, a so-called good chance was created. But you have to be there… Always try. When I saw the ball go in I waited to fully celebrate: I turned to look at the referee Orsato. ‘Tell me it’s good,’ I must have said to myself. Victory goal. Yes, so far the most beautiful in my career precisely because it’s the first in A”.

As soon as you entered the dressing room, how did they celebrate it?

“With compliments and cheers. A classic. I remember Orsolini telling me: ‘Oh, I had to miss a penalty so that you could score the winning goal…'”.

You are 20 years old, a Primavera championship won with Inter and eight goals a year ago with Pippo Inzaghi’s Reggina in Serie B. How do you train your goal timing?

“All the coaches I’ve had have given me something, from the youth teams to Pippo himself, then Chivu, Nunziata. It’s an innate thing, then it’s clear that after the first time you succeed, well, you try again. And if it happens again…’.

Midfield goal-scoring role models?

“Barella, Kroos, who is certainly more elegant than me, but when I was a child I studied Pogba: two Sundays ago I was lucky enough to play against him.”

Fabbian equals… your grandfather Gabriele.

“Well, everyone knows this sweet story by now… But there was a chapter missing. Our family is of peasant origin, he played football, I think in Giorgione, he was the classic player of the past, a tough guy. Nereo Rocco wanted him, I think at Torino. Unfortunately he had to say no: his father (Emilio, ed.) wouldn’t let him go because family and fields needed care and attention. He had eight sisters. Here: I am his revenge. After my goal at Cagliari, to all the people who called him he couldn’t speak: he was crying. Even to me: he was happy. He’s a class of 1940 and yes, I’m proud to be his revenge on the football he didn’t get to enjoy.”

Your career has been on the rise almost from the start: difficult moments?

“When I started crying, but from disappointment. I was 15 and it was all done with Inter. Nothing. Long cries, then with Padova we won the Under-17 and they took me the following year.”

Talk about the summer waiting for Samardzic at Inter; of the Under 20 winning the World Cup but not living it: stories, please.

“I was in Rome two days for the medical examinations. For Udinese. And I was waiting. Considering everything, I didn’t know what would become of me for a month. Exhausting but in the meantime I had gone on tour with Inter. Were Salernitana interested? No. As soon as Bologna arrived I said yes, because of the organisation, the high level and Motta’s words. As far as the Under-20 World Cup is concerned, yes, I was sorry, but leaving Reggina would have sounded almost like a betrayal to me after the good year I had.”

And the regret at leaving Inter?

“I don’t think about that. Apart from the fact that there’s a buyback, but I’m very happy to be here: I want to play as much as possible.”

In that Scudetto-winning Inter Primavera team, you and Casadei were the ‘top’ players. He’s abroad, you in Italy: did you do well or did he?

“He and I are like brothers, we have always lived together in the Inter boarding school, as roommates. When we turned 18, we got a flat together in Milan. And we talk to each other all the time: teasing each other a bit…”

What do today’s young footballers need?

‘The ability to make mistakes’.

What do you like about Bologna?

‘That we play good football’.

And of Thigao Motta?

“Apart from the fact that he’s a very prepared coach, one thing struck me immediately. He called me, when I wasn’t at Bologna yet, and listed my faults. When someone wants to convince you, he lists your merits: he doesn’t, and he impressed me. He told me where I need to improve. It meant he knew me. That’s unique.”

Besides football, what is there?

“I like tennis, Djokovic and Alcaraz are my favourites, and I’ve already taken three exams at University, Economics & Business.”

Excuse me Giovanni, do you have a flaw!?

“I am touchy. And, as Motta told me, I have to learn to link up the different parts of the pitch more…”


Serie A obsessive.