Torino midfielder Daniele Baselli has admitted he dreams of playing at Stamford Bridge, but not for Premier League champions Chelsea.
Baselli’s former Torino teammate Davide Zappacosta made his Champions League debut for Chelsea against Qarabag on Tuesday night.
Zappacosta scored the second in Chelsea’s 6-0 win, a long range strike from the wing which he later admitted to be a cross.
And, after watching his compatriot, Baselli confessed his dreams of playing the Blues one day.
“Watching Zappacosta play in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge was amazing,” Baselli told Tuttosport, as reported by Football Italia.
“That is the stadium that gives me the biggest goosebumps, perhaps because I’ve always really enjoyed English football.
“I dream of playing there one day, for Torino. We’re taking it one game at a time, but why not?”
Baselli missed the start of Torino’s season through a knee injury he picked up during pre-season but did make his return during the club’s 1-0 win over Benevento.
Can Baselli get his European night at Stamford Bridge?
To date, Torino have only qualified for the Champions League on one occasion, in the 1976/77 season when they went out in the second round with the competition still in its straight-cup format.
More recently, the club enjoyed a run to the last-16 in the 2014/15 Europa League before losing 2-1 on aggregate to Zenit.
Ninth last season, Torino finished 10 points below AC Milan in sixth, who went into the third qualifying round of the Europa League as league winners Juventus also won the Coppa Italia.
This season, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the league, winning twice and drawing once, and are currently fifth, boasting the joint-best defence in Serie A alongside Inter Milan.
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Bakayoko: Focusing on the result
Tomorrow’s derby against Arsenal holds no fears for Tiemoue Bakayoko, having already experienced victory in his first capital clash.
The Frenchman is in his debut season in English football, but he is well versed in the various rivalries that come with playing for a London club and the heightened importance supporters place on certain fixtures, especially when facing a neighbour who also has ambitions of lifting silverware this season.
Given that his first competitive appearance for Chelsea came in a London derby victory, when we beat Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley last month, Bakayoko is not daunted by the prospect of taking on the Gunners this weekend.
‘I think that actually in terms of rivalries that Chelsea have, the one with Tottenham is perhaps even bigger than Arsenal,’ said the 23-year-old. ‘Having already played that match, being able to win that match, being able to bring so much happiness to our fans was really a wonderful achievement for the team.
‘Now we’re looking forward to the match against Arsenal, which perhaps carries less of that rivalry, but it is nevertheless incredibly important and it’s absolutely vital that we work hard to achieve the right result on the pitch.’
Bakayoko’s introduction to life at Stamford Bridge has also left him in no doubt as to how much these matches against London rivals mean to the Chelsea supporters.
‘These sorts of matches above all are really important to the fans, and if there’s a lot of importance that is riding on this game then it probably comes from the people associated with the club and the fans and what it means for them living in London.
‘But in terms of us players, we’ll be focusing on the game. We’ve already made a good start to the season and we’re at home as well so it’s not a match that we can afford to lose and our objective remains based just on what happens on the field of play.’
As befitting an all-action midfielder like our number 14, Bakayoko also insists his goals for the season are purely focused on success with the team, and feels a triumph in the Premier League with Chelsea in his first campaign would be an even bigger achievement than the French title he won with Monaco in 2016/17.
‘I think the most important thing in football is to remember your individual challenges come through the team’s goals and the challenges facing the team,’ explained the French international. ‘So last year, for example, I won the title with Monaco and this year my main objective is to win the title with Chelsea.
‘I really think that if we manage to defend the Premier League title that will be an incredible achievement and over and above even what I achieved at Monaco, because of the difficulty of the league here. It’s all about the team and I’m very dedicated now to achieving the goals we have set ourselves.’