Zdenek Grygera is dreaming of helping Fulham enjoy more glory nights in the Europa League after being on the wrong end of arguably the greatest result in the club’s history.
Grygera was part of the Juventus side that led 4-1 on aggregate at Craven Cottage in a last-16 tie a year and a half ago before being stunned by one of the most unlikely comebacks ever seen in European football.
The defender, who joined Fulham on transfer deadline day, admitted he would “never forget” the atmosphere that night and revealed he was hoping to experience it again, starting in Thursday’s opening Group K clash with FC Twente.
He said “Fulham turned a lot of heads when they knocked Juventus out of the competition and I’ve taken an interest ever since – when you are involved in a game like that it is only natural.
“I’ve played a few times against English teams over the years and, every time, I have been struck by the atmosphere in and around the grounds, and Craven Cottage was no different.
“Even though it is small in comparison to some, the atmosphere was fantastic and made for a great setting.
“It was a difficult night for those on the losing side but, of course, it was a special night for Fulham.
“It’s not often an Italian team concedes four goals – you rarely see that happen.
“But Fulham played the better football, showed more fight and, in the end, were the team that deserved the win.
“It’s funny how things work out.
It shows that in football you just never know what will happen.
“I’m very happy to be opening a new chapter in my career and hopefully I can share similar lasting memories with the fans.
“This is a country that loves its football and I’m always impressed by the way the game is played and the manner in which the fans follow.
” Grygera became the seventh of 10 new arrivals this summer, joining John Arne Riise and Pajtim Kasami in making the move from Serie A.
“You can see that football in England is different to football in Italy,” said the 31-year-old, who will be hoping to make his debut on Thursday.
“It is a lot more physical over here and, in my opinion, the game is played at a higher level, although in Italy it is arguably more tactical.
“It was a great honour to play for a club like Juventus – one of the most renowned and successful clubs not just in Italy, but perhaps even the world.
“But, after four seasons in Turin, I am now concentrating on being here and doing well for Fulham.
” The former Ajax star added: “I am a bit older than most of the others that have come in, but I like to think that I bring a lot of experience.
“I’m hopeful that everything will work out for me here and, like all new signings, that I can provide my new team with something extra.
“I’m known for my versatility and, in recent years, more often than not, I have played in either of the full-back positions.
But then, at Ajax, I played more in the centre of defence, so it’s difficult to say what exactly my best position is.
“Fulham play a different style, so we’ll see where I can establish myself. “