Belgium are favourites, Totti taught me a lot – Pjanic

The 24-year-old has become one of the top central midfielders on the planet at Roma, but he is keen to play down Bosnia’s chances of dominance in Euro 2016 qualification


EXCLUSIVE
By Jasmin Ligata

Miralem Pjanic believes that Bosnia and Herzgovina are lagging behind Group B favourites Belgium in Euro 2016 qualification and has hailed Francesco Totti as his mentor at Roma.

Safet Susic’s side have been drawn alongside World Cup 2014 quarter-finalists Belgium, Israel, Wales, Cyprus and Andorra as they look to qualify for their first European Championship as an independent country.

Pjanic, who was part of the Bosnia squad that failed to get out of the group stage in Brazil this summer, is keen to play down expectations but hopes the Balkan nation can make their travelling supporters proud.

“Our Euros group is tougher than the one we had in the World Cup 2014 qualifiers but we have to qualify to fulfil our dream,” the central midfielder told Goal.

“Belgium are the favourites to win the group but we must not underestimate Wales, Israel and especially Cyprus as they are our first match.

“I believe a lot of fans will follow us again in the away matches and, because of them, we have an even larger responsibility to succeed.”

Pjanic was mentored by Juninho at Lyon and has been taking on board Totti and Daniele De Rossi’s tips while thriving at the Stadio Olimpico.

The 24-year-old hopes he can follow in his veteran team-mates’ footsteps by imparting his footballing wisdom on Roma youngsters.

“I learned a lot with Juninho, but also with Totti and De Rossi,” the Bosnian continued. “They accepted me brilliantly from the start.

“Those players are teachers and life coaches and I am grateful to them. And, of course, I am there to help any young player that comes to Roma.”

Bosnia kick off their Euro 2016 qualification campaign on Tuesday by hosting minnows Cyprus, with kick-off at 20:45CET.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for UEFA’s European Qualifiers Fantasy Football and Predictor now.

Pjanic: I rejected offers to stay with Garcia

The midfielder says he chose to extend his spell in the Italian capital in order to win the Scudetto under a coach he feels shares his idea of good football


Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic claims he rejected offers from other clubs in order to continue to work with coach Rudi Garcia.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has established himself as one of Europe’s brightest attacking midfielders with the Giallorossi and was reportedly a prime transfer target for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Pjanic, however, signed a new and improved contract at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this summer and has now claimed his eagerness to achieve success under Garcia prompted him to spurn advances from potential suitors.

“I’ve received many offers but I decided to stay with Roma because I want to win the Scudetto,” the 24-year-old told Sport.ba.

“And because of Rudi Garcia, with whom I have an excellent relationship and who shares my ideas on football.”

Pjanic joined Roma from Olympique Lyonnais in the summer of 2011.

Miralem Pjanic picks his best world XI – featuring Messi and Suarez

The Bosnian – one of Serie A’s finest midfielders – selected six Liga stars, three Bundesliga players and one apiece from the Premier League and Ligue 1 in his all-star line-up


Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has revealed his perfect world XI, featuring a formidable frontline of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Pjanic, who placed 20th in 2014′s Goal 50, was one of the stars of Serie A in 2013-14 and was linked with a host of top clubs earlier this year – including La Liga giants Barcelona – before putting pen to paper on a new deal in May.

The 24-year-old chose four Camp Nou players in his all-star selection, alongside three Bayern Munich men, two European champions with Real Madrid, one Manchester City man and a single Paris Saint-Germain star.

“Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper around,” Pjanic, who has his sights set on taking the Scudetto away from Juventus in 2014-15, told Goal.
 
“At right-back I would have Philipp Lahm and at left-back David Alaba. My central defenders would be Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos.
 
“My favourite midfielders are Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure and Xavi.
 
“Up front I would have to go for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.”

Pjanic: Leaving Roma was never an option

The Bosnia-Herzegovina star has made it clear that he never considered a transfer and dreams of winning the Scudetto this season


Miralem Pjanic has stressed that he never thought about leaving Roma irrespective of interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 24-year-old was one of Roma’s undisputed stars as they finished second in Serie A last term, catching the attention of the Ligue 1 champions and the Spanish giants in the process.

Neverthelss, Pjanic eventually opted to sign a new deal with Roma until June 2018 instead and he has now made it clear that a summer transfer was never an option for him.

“I signed a new deal because I believe in Roma’s project, in this team and in this coach,” the creative midfielder to Corriere dello Sport.

“It was an easy decision. Maybe I could have made more money elsewhere. But I want to play somewhere where I’m happy. I love the people at Roma, I love the club and I love the city. This is the perfect place to develop.

“I never thought about leaving. Negotiations over a new deal took a while because they took place during the season. There were a lot of rumours, but the people at Roma always knew what I wanted and that I wanted to sign a new deal before the World Cup.”

Pjanic then went on to insist that Roma have set their sights on the Serie A title this term after last year’s second place.

“We want to win this Scudetto. Is this the strongest Roma I’ve seen? I think so. We have had players arrive who have made us grow. 

“And we have young players who understand football and also have so much talent. But above all, this year the group has changed with respect to the past. 

“But we are not favourites. There is always Juventus, who deserved to win the league last year, and then Napoli.  We are there next and in contention. The pitch will provide us with the answers.”

Pjanic proud to make Goal 50 and believes Roma can overtake Juventus

The ex-Lyon star was delighted to be named in our annual list of the 50 greatest players from the past season and is confident he can achieve Scudetto success in 2014-15


EXCLUSIVE
By Jasmin Ligata

Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has expressed his pride at being named in the 2014 Goal 50 and has sent out a Scudetto warning to Juventus ahead of the new season.

The 24-year-old finished 20th in Goal’s annual list of the 50 greatest players of the past season following a wonderful campaign where he led his club side to second place in Serie A with a record club points tally.

The classy playmaker, who registered six goals and six assists for the Giallorossi, also helped Bosnia and Herzegovina qualify for their first ever World Cup finals in Brazil, scoring in the win over Iran.

“Last season I proved my quality and I am very happy and proud that Goal put me side by side with the world’s biggest football stars,” Pjanic told Goal.

“This only inspires me to work harder. I know the competition was tough and I am happy even to be on the list.

“Every award gives me strength and motivation to do better. But all the time I work hard because the worst for each player is when he thinks he has reached the top. I always want to be better.

“Last season only partially filled my expectations, considering I aimed to win the Scudetto.

“We started the season great but then we lost rhythm and Juventus took advantage of that. I am sorry we didn’t succeed but we made a step forward and became candidates to win trophies. I believe we will fight for the championship again this season.

“As for Bosnia, my dream of playing at the World Cup came true and it was a really great experience. We didn’t progress but we have shown that we have a great future ahead of us. We have a very young, improving team.”

Pjanic, who hit the headlines earlier this week following an incredible goal from the halfway line in a friendly against Manchester United, is looking forward to the new club season.

Following a string of summer signings, including Verona wonderkid Juan Iturbe and experienced campaigners such as Ashley Cole and Seydou Keita, Pjanic is confident that Roma can go one better in 2014-15 and win a first Scudetto since 2001.

“We can overtake Juventus. We are stronger with several great players and I believe we can achieve many good things in Italy,” he insisted.

“We have Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and new signings who have won trophies and know what is needed to win.

“Maybe we lacked experience last season, but now we have it. We also have more depth and that is so important considering we have many games ahead of us.

“We have a strong team and we can go far in Europe too. I’ve played in the Champions League with Lyon and I know it is a special tournament.”

Pjanic recently became a father and he concluded by explaining how this has helped him grow as a person and a footballer.

“It helps a man become mature,” he revealed.

“Every moment I can I spend with family and with my son Edin who is one of my biggest victories in life. Family is there forever, only parents are truly your friends.”

Click HERE to see the full list for the 2014 Goal 50

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