“I regret joining Atletico”

Alessio Cerci admits “I wouldn’t have joined Atletico Madrid” in hindsight as the Verona new boy “lost so much on a human level.”

Cerci played just 11 times for Atleti in three years, prior to signing for Verona on a free transfer a fortnight ago, and the attacker pulled no punches when assessing his spell in the Spanish capital.

“The story started badly from the start,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I arrived in Madrid on September 1 without any preparation because Torino was slow to do a deal.

“I’ve experienced many things, but I don’t want to fuel any controversy. Still, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have joined Atletico. It was a choice that cost me a lot.

“I lost so much on a human level… the affection of so many Torino fans, who loved me and told me that my choice of going to Spain was a mistake.

“I wanted to play in the Champions League. I wanted to step up in my career. I want to get back what I’ve lost in the last few years. I want to start playing again.

“I haven’t played in a real game for a year and a half. Fortunately, my suffering in the sport has been softened by the birth of my son. He’s six months old.

“Sometimes I still feel pain in my knee, but after two years of almost being a fan, it’s nice to feel pain in my legs in these training sessions.

“It’s a challenge, but I’m not new to this and, of course, I come from a long break, partly because of my injuries, but I’m fine.

“I think if you look back at my career, you’ll see that I’ve shown things, but if you want say I’m a gamble then it’s not a problem for me.”