Ashley Cole has admitted that he is happy to be out of the limelight since signing for Roma.
The retired England international left Chelsea last summer to move to the Italian capital, after forging a career in London with the Blues and Premier League rivals Arsenal.
Although his performances on the pitch have left something to the imagination, the veteran has confessed that he is happy to be playing in Serie A and is relishing the lower level of media scrutiny put on him in Italy.
“I wake up every morning new, free as a bird. I know there’s not going to be a story in the paper about going to a nightclub or doing this or that,” Cole is quoted as saying by The Mirror.
“I had a few offers in the Premier League, but I didn’t want to stay. I thought it was time to leave and enjoy a different culture.
“How much of the stories about me were true? I’d probably say half. The culture in England is exaggerated, but it’s more relaxed in Italy.
“You go out to dinner, enjoy a glass of wine. In Italy smoking is more accepted, but in England you get crucified for it.
“I wouldn’t say I have regrets. There’s things I shouldn’t have done, but it depends how you look at it. Maybe things happen for a reason.”
The 34-year-old only started 11 Serie A games last season and will look to seal a more regular place in the Giallorossi starting XI for the upcoming campaign.
Cole is one of the most consistent English defenders of a generation, winning over 100 caps for his nation and being adjudged as one of the Premier League’s best left-backs during his time at Chelsea and Arsenal.
The veteran left the Blues after seeing his regular starting role taken from him by Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta.