Roberto: I like Manuel Pellegrini’s style of football
Roberto cannot wait to become part of Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United project.
The Spaniard became the Hammers’ first summer signing when he put pen to paper on a two-year deal on Friday, and he will link up with his new teammates for the first time on 1 July.
Roberto has faced his new manager’s teams on a number of occasions during his career since first lining up between the sticks for Zaragoza against Pellegrini’s Real Madrid in April 2010.
The 33-year-old, who also tackled Pellegrini’s Malaga on four occasions during his time with Zaragoza between 2011-13, and also faced Manchester City in the International Champions Cup while with Benfica in 2014, cannot wait to learn from the vastly-experienced Chilean.
In modern football, it’s very good news that the coaches decide to involve the goalkeepers in the game and make us feel more inside the game
“I like Manuel Pellegrini’s style of football,” he confirmed. “I like it because every year the goalkeeper takes more importance in the team.
“In modern football, it’s very good news that the coaches decide to involve the goalkeepers in the game and make us feel more inside the game, rather than apart from it or in a different kind of game. I am looking forward to this kind of football, so I will try to help a lot.”
Roberto is also relishing the prospect of working with his new goalkeeper coach and compatriot Xavi Valero, who has developed a reputation for being one of the world’s very best in his specialist role.
“I think everyone knows his reputation so nothing I can say in words can show this more than the results,” he said of a coach who has worked with some of the world’s best goalkeepers at Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, before joining the Hammers in summer 2018.
“He did very well last season and he’s doing very well in every team he is working for, so I am sure he is going to keep doing it like this.”
Roberto becomes the latest in the increasingly long line of outstanding Spanish goalkeepers to move to the Premier League, following the likes of Valero’s former Liverpool charge Pepe Reina, Manchester United’s David de Gea, Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita, and West Ham’s own Adrian and Manuel Almunia.
When asked why Spain is so good at producing top-class stoppers, the new boy again pointed to his new goalkeeper coach’s expertise.
“I think we have a really good school,” Roberto explained. “From being kids, we have very good goalkeeper coaches and the proof is that in our Club we have one of the best goalkeeper coaches and he’s from Spain!
“This begins when we are very, very small and I am happy to know that Spanish goalkeepers have a good reputation here in England.”