Homegrown Arsenal-linked star identifies Chelsea playmaker as his role model

As Roma Graffiti

Roma youth product Alessandro Florenzi fielded questions from fans and identified a Chelsea star his idol.

Engaging with fans via social networking platform WeChat, Roma utility man Alessandro Florenzi revealed that he counts Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas as his role model.

The Italy international has burst onto the scene over the past three seasons as the latest native Roman to carve out a place in the senior side alongside Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi.

Florenzi in turn emerged from the Giallorossi primavera set-up to find two ready-made icons as team-mates, famously jumping into Totti’s arms after scoring his first competitive Roma goal against Inter in September 2012 - from the captain's assist, no less.

The strike arrived in what was only Florenzi's third career first team showing, and some two-and-a-half years later, the 24-year-old has amassed 13 goals and 19 assists through 121 appearances for the club he grew up supporting.

Over the course of his young career Florenzi has been shuffled around the pitch as a winger, full-back and central midfielder - his natural role - and told supporters on Tuesday that he derives inspiration from a player plying his trade in the centre of the park.

Asked who he models himself after via WeChat, he replied: "Cesc Fabregas is absolutely my model in football, although Cristiano Ronaldo remains the best player in the world."

Over the course of his rise Florenzi has been linked with a club Fabregas is well acquainted with - none other than Arsenal - as Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio reported last summer that Roma swiftly rebuffed an advance from the Gunners for him.

Arsenal's North London rivals also expressed an interest in the Giallorossi starlet, according to talkSPORT, though Florenzi inked a new contract in January running until 2019 that will see him net a reported €2 million per season in the Eternal City.

There have been concerns, however, regarding the versatile Florenzi's continued development at Roma, considering that he has been deployed in no fewer than four different positions this term by head coach Rudi Garcia.

Florenzi admitted to Sky Italia in February to not truly knowing his role within the team, saying he had grown confused by being fielded as a stop-gap by Garcia wherever necessary, often based on injuries.

But for the time being, there appears little chance the Roman will be going anywhere, as evidenced by the fresh ink on his new deal in Rome - even if he did concede Totti's one-club man exploits with the Giallorossi will be difficult to replicate.

"What he [Totti] has done is something unique, a one-off," Florenzi added. "He is the history of Roma."

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