Riccardo Calafiori reveals what he thought when an Ajax ball-boy threw the ball at his face. ‘I won’t say I respect him, but I do understand…’
The incident occurred in stoppages in Amsterdam during the Europa League quarter-final, with the Giallorossi winning 2-1.
Calafiori had left behind the first ball thrown, so the second was hurled directly at his face from point-blank range.
“I thought many things at that moment…” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“Fortunately, I managed to stay calm. I will say that seeing your opponent waste time in a situation like that would’ve irritated me too.
“I won’t say I respect him, but I do understand…”
Roma fought back from a goal down and saw Pau Lopez parry the Dusan Tadic penalty for a 2-1 victory, through Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez.
Calafiori came on after 28 minutes, when Leonardo Spinazzola picked up a muscular injury.
“It wasn’t easy to come on in this situation, but my teammates helped and it went better in the second half. Seeing the penalty saved gave us an extra boost, and we proved that we are a strong team. You could tell in the locker room that we wanted to win at all costs and we did it.
“This is a united team and we want to go all the way in this competition.”
Calafiori’s career so far has been affected by numerous serious injuries.
“I wasn’t expecting to be out for three months with the same problem. This is football, my main objective now is to just be healthy and available.”
Do not try and waste time in front of Ajax’s ballboys pic.twitter.com/SquvnJRYIy
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 8, 2021