Emanuel Mammana: "Zenit fans are very passionate"
The Zenit defender gave an interview with Veja about life in Russia, Zenit and being called-up by Argentina.
At River Plate I started in midfield, I played in the number 10 position. But then the club realized that this was not my position and so I became a central defender. The player I admired most was Puyol, a great footballer and a real captain, who could play both in defence and attack. Now I would single out Varana, Sergio Ramos and Pique.
On the Argentina national team:
I hope to play at the World Cup, although our team has many good defenders and I'm still young. If it does not happen, then I will work to get other opportunities. Of course, the call-up to the team motivates me. This was a unique moment in life, which I will never forget.
Argentina is one of the best teams in the world, and all the teams want to beat us. We have a tough group: Croatia are very good, Iceland have fought hard and we recently played with Nigeria and lost.
Jorge Sampaoli is a great coach who likes attacking football. Sometimes being a defender with his style of play is not easy, but he has great knowledge. I believe that he will take Argentina down the right path.
I would say Brazil are the favourites for the tournament, they have great players. As always, Germany are among the contenders for the title, they are always strong. And I will also single out France and Belgium, although not everyone puts them among the favourites.
To train with the best in the world is something special. We see what he can do on the pitch, how he plays and it's incredible! What is most striking is his human qualities. Messi depite being the best in the world, remains very modest, he gets along with everyone. Everyone loves him.
About life in Russia:
I'm still getting to know the city and the team. Zenit are a top club, always playing in European competition. My transfer was helped by the fact that there were already other Argentinian players here. There is a difficult climate, but the city itself is very beautiful and I am gradually getting used to it.
I have been received very well in the team and can say a few words in Russian, things like; good morning, good night. I speak a little English, I communicate with someone in French, I understand Italian. Anyway, we can communicate and everything is in fine.
As for the fans, it's a bit different here than in South America. In Argentina, all teams have a huge number of fans. In Russia only the top clubs do. Zenit have very passionate fans and a modern stadium which is always full, so that's great.