Antonio: “Final the the biggest thing ever in my life”


Antonio celebrates v Larnaca

Michail Antonio was yesterday involved in discussing the problems that Gianluca Scamacca has had since arriving at the club.

Today, however he is much keener top talk about the game which will become the highlight of his career in Prague on June 7.

At 33 years old and as an eight year Hammers servant Mikey is a player most have taken to their hearts although his remarks of the problems he believes between the manager and Italian striker may have struck the wrong note ahead of the Final.

However, there is very little doubt that the nine goal striker will again prove a handful with the bustling  style of play which has seen him disturb many Premier League defenders.

The 33-year-old is West Ham United’s all-time leading scorer in European football with nine goals to his name, including seven in this season’s run to the  showdown.

Should he find the net twice, he could also finish as the tournament proper’s leading scorer, as he goes into the final just one behind Fiorentina’s Arthur Cabral and FC Basel’s Zeki Amdouni.

Talking to the official site at Mikey said: “Scoring goals has always been a goal [for me]; as a striker, you’re always meant to be scoring goals.

And obviously, in terms of goals so far, I’m just one behind the leader, so I’m going for that top goal scoring record.

Goal scoring records are nothing new to Antonio, of course, as the forward has netted more times in the Premier League, 61, than any other player in West Ham United’s history in the competition.

And he said: “Honestly, I don’t really see getting pressure from [scoring Premier League goals], I had more pressure of beating the club’s all-time record, which was previously held by Paolo Di Canio with 47 goals.

When I heard that  I was like ‘Now, I have to beat it’. But, now, obviously, I’m at the top, and I want to score more goals to make it more difficult for someone to catch me.

“Now I’ve achieved it, I’m just buzzing that I’ve achieved it. But my goal is to always make sure that I do better each year, so me doing better each year means I get more goals each year [and] makes it harder for the next person to catch me. But I like pressure when it’s ‘big pressure’.”

Antonio celebrates in Alkmaar

Now, 47 years after Sir Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and company were denied European Cup Winners’ Cup final glory by RSC Anderlecht, Antonio is ready to rise to the challenge again.

A Football League Trophy winner with Southampton in 2011, the striker has his sights trained on Fiorentina and UEFA Europa Conference League glory in Prague next Wednesday evening.

It’s massive, to be fair,” he said. “We’ve not been in a [European] final for 47 years. I’ve won a JPT [Football League Trophy] final, so this is massive for me. It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve been involved in, in my life.

“Most people want to retire with some type of accolades and this is an opportunity for me to have those accolades. But it’s not just for me, it’s for everyone.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • hammerpete6 says:

    Let’s all hope they can play the match not the occasion and be at it fearlessly from the first whistle. We are all with you Irons!!

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