Stefan de Vrij delighted to join Lazio
Stefan de Vrij has said he is delighted to join Lazio as the Italian club announced the signing of his compatriot Edson Braafheid.
Several hundred Lazio fans stayed up until after midnight to welcome Netherlands international De Vrij when his plane arrived with a delay on Tuesday, which only served to convince the defender that he had made the right choice.
"I didn't expect a welcome like that," he said at his first news conference since leaving Feyenoord on Thursday. "It was incredible seeing all those fans. They made me feel loved, and I knew right away what I can come to expect here."
De Vrij, voted the best defender of the World Cup this summer, had other offers this summer, but said: "Lazio were the only ones who came looking for me before the World Cup, and they are the ones who gave me the best feeling.
"Many clubs were after me. Not Roma, as has been mentioned in recent days, and not Manchester United either. I decided to join Lazio and I'm really delighted."
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There, he fills a role formerly occupied by Jaap Stam, veteran of 88 appearances for the Biancocelesti and 112 Serie A appearances in total, having also played for AC Milan.
"I've got a great deal of respect for Stam and I know he did a great job here, but I like to be unique," De Vrij said. "I don't compare myself to any other player. I just hope that I can help the team improve and help myself improve too, by becoming a complete player."
He was joined on Friday by another Dutchman as former Bayern Munich, Celtic and Hoffenheim midfielde Braafheid joined on a free transfer.
Meanwhile, Davide Astori has said Lazio only have themselves to blame for failing to sign him after he signed for city rivals Roma on loan from Cagliari.
"There were negotiations underway between Lazio and Cagliari, but they had not been concluded," he said. "Then Roma got in touch and I had no doubts. I chose Roma as soon as I learnt that they were interested. Playing for Roma has a lot more appeal than playing for an inferior club.
"Our aim is to do better than last season, and we have a squad capable of doing so. I think we're going to have a lot of fun."