Alisson eyes Roma number 1 spot after stopping Lionel Messi

Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) Looking calm and relaxed, Alisson Becker enjoyed a famous night in Brazil where some people are asking if Roma have quite understood what they have. He played as captain against Argentina and kept out such strikers as Messi and Higuain, but most of all he sent a clear message to Spalletti ahead of the derby when he made a fine save from Lazio’s Biglia to stop him scoring a goal from long range.

It’s strange that Alisson is Brazil’s first choice keeper and Romero is Argentina’s first choice, but neither of the two goalkeepers are first choice at their respective clubs. Alisson is behind Szczesny at Roma, while Romero is De Gea’s back up at Manchester United. It’s a surreal situation that is starting to weigh on Alisson, who was bought for €8m from Internacional with the promise that he would be in charge of his own destiny. “Alisson is struggling from being a substitute” confirmed Taffarel, former Parma keeper and current goalkeeper coach for the Brazilian national team.

But Alisson, the central figure in all this, doesn’t want to cause controversy from the other side of the Atlantic. It isn’t his style. “Taffarel knows me well, he knows what I can offer. I can only work hard day after day, session after session, to prove my worth. It’s clear that my aim is to play in every game, not just for Brazil but also for Roma. But they’ve told me to be patient, because this is a period of transition.” Alisson is well aware that his rival Szczesny will go back to Arsenal at the end of his loan spell, leaving the position open for him. It wasn’t how he would have wanted things to be when he arrived in Europe, but at 24 years old he can afford to wait.

He hasn’t been disheartened by the rustiness from being on the bench, even though he made a mistake in the Europa League against Austria Vienna when he gifted the home side a goal. “I always train with the aim of playing in the next game. This helps me to be ready when I return to play for Brazil. Of course I hope that I get game time at my club as well. But I need to be patient.” He has already made his debut in the Champions League, but not in Serie A. For the moment he isn’t considering leaving Roma on loan in January, as he would prefer to stay and fight for his place in the team under Spalletti and hope that he can win his place earlier than predicted. In the meantime, he has been learning Italian which is now fairly good, he has got used to European training methods and is preparing to be a key figure in the future for the club. In the meantime, he will also be playing against Peru in Lima. “I think confidence is more important for a goalkeeper than the number of games you play. I have great confidence in myself and I think I’ve always given my best when I’ve been used.”

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