Ravizzoli praises compatriot Torres after completing Dons move
The goalkeeper becomes Dons' second new signing of the summer
Franco Ravizzoli paid tribute to compatriot Sergio Torres for helping him earn a move to MK Dons
The 23-year-old Argentinean goalkeeper joins Russell Martin's side on a permanent basis after helping out the goalkeeping unit towards the end of last season following Laurie Walker's loan move to Oldham Athletic.
Ravizzoli had been playing for non-league side Eastbourne Borough, whose assistant manager is former Crawley midfielder Torres - a good friend of the Dons manager.
Ravizzoli has followed a similar path to the English game as Torres did, leaving his family in Argentina to pursue a career in football. With the help of Torres, Ravizzoli made the move to the south coast and took in the young keeper to help him find his feet before securing his first professional contract.
“I’m so proud, it’s been tough to leave my family about two years ago,” Ravizzoli told iFollow MK Dons. “It’s been tough for all of us, when they see I’ve joined, they will be so proud.
“I miss them, I wanted to go back to Argentina last year, but with Covid, I couldn’t. It’s been tough - this is for them.”
“Sergio showed me it’s possible, he and his family helped me so much, I live with them and have done since I moved over. He has given me so much advice - and his career was so successful. From where he started to where he played, he was a professional for nine years in England, I see his career and it made me think I can do it as well.
"I came to England about 18-months ago, I was playing for River Plate in Argentina and didn’t get the first-team experience. My best friend was here in England, he told me to come over and I wanted a new start - I needed to go learn the English way.
"Sergio helped me a lot. He took me to Eastbourne and I’m really grateful for them and the opportunity they gave me in English football. Sergio told me I need to play games, wherever it is, to learn the language and the English game and adapt to the weather. He told me he’d help me take the step to professional football.
“I love English football. The best football is here in England – I just said why not.”
Goalkeeper Coach Dean Thornton said: “Franco was someone recommended to me and Russ, and people I’ve spoken to that have come up against him and they have all spoken highly of him.
“We had him training with us for the final few months of last season so we’ve had a good look at him. It was immediately clear that he had come from a good football background at River Plate, playing football the way we like to play.
“He’s worked extremely hard to put himself in this position and we’re excited to make him a permanent part of our goalkeeping department moving forwards.”