Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival to Serie A a 'leap of quality' - Federico Fazio
Roma defender Federico Fazio has called the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus a "leap of quality" for Serie A and said he looks forward to competing against the former Real Madrid striker.
Fazio, 31, and Roma are in the United States for the International Champions Cup and will face Ronaldo's former team on Tuesday, Aug. 7 (8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN).
And ahead of the match, the Argentina international told ESPN Deportes in an exclusive interview: "It's important that important quality players arrive to Serie A. It's a motivation and a leap of qualify for Serie A. I think the level of competition grows and that makes us grow as well.
"It's great to compete against the best. But not just against Juventus but also against other teams. I think it's going to be a good year. We have to think about our aim which is to compete in three competitions and go as far as possible. We've been doing that and we need to do so again this season."
Roma came from behind to beat Barcelona, who were playing without Lionel Messi, 4-2 on Aug. 1 and Fazio said his team are now eagerly anticipating their ICC match with Real next week.
"It's been a while since I played against Real Madrid," Fazio said. "It's always beautiful to play against one of the best teams in the world. I think Roma, especially in recent years, is joining this group.
"It's important to maintain this level and continue to compete against the best as we did last season in the Champions League. In order to go far in the Champions League, we have to prepare ourselves in the best possible way and it's good to play these games."
Roma stunned Barcelona to reach the Champions League semifinals last season before falling to Liverpool and they have strengthened their squad in the summer by signing attacking midfielder Javier Pastore on a permanent transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in June.
"He already played in Serie A before and knows the language," Fazio said of his compatriot. "He is an experienced player, who has played in Europe for many years. He gives our team a leap in quality and will no doubt add something. He is very important. We are delighted with him and the other signings."
Fazio competed in his first World Cup in Russia but the Albiceleste failed to progress past the round of 16, losing 4-3 to France.
"It was a unique experience," the 31-year-old centre-back said. "To play at a World Cup is something amazing. As an Argentinian I never imagined I would compete in a World Cup.
"The fact that we didn't win doesn't take away anything. It's difficult to win. There are many good national teams and players. The important thing is to compete and enjoy the moment. The Argentina national team always has the duty to go as far as possible. It's difficult. It was a different World Cup to the previous ones. Football has become more balanced."