The Nigerian international had several options in the summer after a spectacular campaign in Europe’s third-tier competition last term
Super Eagles striker Cyriel Dessers maintains that he has no regret in choosing to switch to the Italian Serie A even as his Cremonese continues to struggle in their return to the top flight.
After finishing as the Europa Conference League’s top goalscorer with ten goals last term while on loan at Feyenoord, Dessers was a toast of several admiring clubs in the summer.
Feyenoord wanted him to stay in the Netherlands, while FC Copenhagen had transfer talks with the striker and his representatives.
Dessers also had the option of staying at parent club KRC Genk but the Nigerian forward eventually decided to join lowly Cremonese, a team that had only been promoted to Serie A for the first time since 1996.
As expected, the Gray and Reds have struggled to adapt to life in the top flight and are without a win in 20 games to sit bottom of the 20-team pile.
Despite being disappointed with Cremonese’s current status, Dessers remains confident that he made the right choice to join the club in August.
The 28-year-old admits he knew it would not be an easy adventure in Cremona but the desire to play in one of Europe’s biggest leagues was too tempting to refuse.
And he confesses that the experience has been worth it, especially since he has been mixing it with Serie A’s big boys including Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko.
What has Dessers said?
“It’s something different, isn’t it, after years at the top with Feyenoord and Genk,” Dessers told Het Nieuwsblad, via Voetbalkrant.
“But I knew this was a realistic scenario when I came here. Playing in a big league was always a dream.
“But I also always said that I wanted to play – becoming second or third striker with a ‘bigger’ team was also an option, but I didn’t like that. Moreover, I think that the last place does not correspond to the football that our team and the feeling we have after the games.
“But the competition is great, isn’t it? Serie A is really on a different level. Playing football in the Stadio Olimpico, in San Siro, playing against absolute world players, those are the things you ultimately do it for.
“On Saturday against Inter, Lukaku and Dzeko came to have a chat with me. Men I used to watch on television before I turned pro. That such players appreciate you is of course nice.”
It has not been an experience without its beautiful moments, however, as Cremonese are through to the semifinals of the Coppa Italia for the first time in more than 30 years.
The Cremona-based club defeated Napoli on penalties in the round of 16 before securing a Dessers-inspired victory over Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma in the quarterfinals.
That shocking win away in the capital has also landed Mourinho’s assistant, Salvatore Foti in trouble with the Italian coach handed a four-match ban for his rant after Dessers’ goal.