Stephy Mavididi has spoken to the media about adapting to life in Italy, and the chance to work alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.
Mavididi swapped Arsenal for Juventus over the summer, though in reality, he knew he was swapping one academy for another. Both clubs have top sides with bags of talent up front, and it’s no surprise a 20-year-old would find it difficult to break into either first team.
There are advantages to playing in the Juventus u23s over Arsenal’s though. A change of scenery can help to push a stalling career forward, and learning from a new set of coaches can give you a new perspective. Plus, Juventus’ B team play against senior players in Serie C, rather than in an u23 league.
In addition, Mavididi explains that the chance to get up close to Ronaldo was too good to pass up.
“The motivation to play with one of my idols, one of the greatest ever. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to train with him,” Mavididi told Wednesday’s edition of The Independent.
“It’s the mentality [with Ronaldo], how he approaches things, how professional he is, how he manages his body. Watching him, I just try and take in as much as I can from him.”
Mavididi has seen other young Arsenal stars moving abroad recently too, and he admits they’ve inspired each other to make bold moves.
“Some players like Chris Willock (helped inspire him to make the decision), in Portugal at Benfica,” he said. “When I got the call from Juventus, he was one of the first players I called, asking him what it was like living away from home, adapting.
“Reiss Nelson out in Germany [with Hoffenheim] as well. This generation are becoming braver to step abroad. Of course, we follow each other’s games, if I score, or he scores, we’ll post messages, we always keep in touch.”
Despite playing for the u23s, Mavididi has been making friends with some of the senior stars in Turin as well.
“I remember in my first week, one of the coaches was talking,” Mavididi recalls. “I turned to Emre Can and said, ‘do you understand?’ He was like, ‘no.’ From then we’ve chatted, everybody has been friendly, it’s been really good.”
On the pitch, Mavididi hasn’t made the quickest start in terms of his goalscoring, with six in his first 27 games. He’s in good form at the moment though, scoring in his last two appearances. Hopefully, he kicks on now and pushes for senior opportunities.