Joao Mario: I had to grow up

Inter midfielder Joao Mario admits he became aware of fans’ frustrations and that his spell in the wilderness ‘forced me to grow up’.

Joao Mario looked certain to leave Inter last summer, even advising his fellow ex-Sporting CP teammates to avoid signing for Serie A clubs, but the Portuguese has worked his way back into Luciano Spalletti’s plans.

“Every so often, at the end of games, I thought that I had at least given everything on the field, even I didn’t play very well in a technical sense,” he told DAZN.

“However, I saw that people were annoyed with my performances so I had to go over some things and improve.

“I didn’t think I could’ve been a starter a year ago. Playing at San Siro can be a bit complicated, so I had to be patient.

“In the past I was very worried about what I couldn’t control, but one thing I’ve learned is that even if you work hard, there are some things you can’t control. Therefore, you have to be calm because sooner or later an opportunity will come.

“Not playing that many games was tough for me, but it forces you to grow up. I didn’t expect to play. It was a difficult match, away from home.

“However, I had the opportunity and I knew I had to give everything to gain continuity. Spalletti tries to help everyone with their mental state.

“Maybe you’re not feeling good mentally and people don’t understand why. Spalletti’s a very emotional person in games.

“I already knew I couldn’t play in the Champions League because of Financial Fair Play, even if I stayed after the summer.

“We were dealt two very good teams in the group, so it’s a shame that we weren’t able to go through.”

Joao Mario then revealed Cristiano Ronaldo had decided to leave Real Madrid during the World Cup.

“He talked a bit about possibly leaving Madrid during the World Cup,” he added.

“It would’ve been better if he came to us, but who knows what’ll happen in the future… The important thing is that he’s feeling good.

“He’s also showing his quality in Italy. He’ll do very well here.”

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