"It was difficult for me to settle here in the beginnings. I missed my family a lot after moving to a new continent with new surroundings," said Franco candidly on the transition from South America.
The 19-year-ol Argentinean was born in La Rioja and remembers his formative years with great fondness. "I wasn't particularly good at school. I spent all my time on the streets with my mates playing football." Zuculini still stays in constant contact with his former school friends via the internet and phones or emails his family on a daily basis. His mother Viviana, father Marcello and brother Bruno visit Franco in Germany as often as they can. "I really like it in Germany. It's a lot better now because I can go shopping on my own and I have found my own flat. Unfortunately I'm still having problems with the language," said 'Zucu'. "I'm working hard at it and I try to speak German wherever possible," he added.
The combative midfielder has become aware of the advantages of living in Germany. "There is a lot more order in Germany. It's much more chilled out and it's a lot safer than in Argentina." The historic city of Heidelberg is a place Zuculini is particularly fond of, while the Bundesliga has also impressed the 1.74m Argentinean international. "The tempo of the game in the Bundesliga is a lot quicker than in Argentina. I think the facilities here are world-class. The pitches in every stadium are perfect. I like the aggressive, attacking style of play in the Bundesliga and I am a fan of Hoffenheim's tactical approach." Zuculini himself has played himself into the hearts of the fans with some promising performances and scored his first goal against Nürnberg in front of his watching family. "I hadn't played for a while and I wanted to pay back the faith that the manager had shown in me. The goal was very satisfying and it helped me to forget all the difficulties I faced when I first arrived. It was a huge weight off my shoulders." Following his debut goal, Zuculini is now hoping to become a regular in the 1899 starting line up. So far he has had no problems with the weather in Germany, but freely admits he doesn't "mind the goal here in Germany, but I have never seen snow before and I'm quite excited about that."
Zuculini, who is often compared to fellow Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano back home, recent had the words 'Todo pasa', roughly translated as 'Time heals everything' tattooed across his upper body. All of my tattoos hold a special meaning for me. They all tell a story and give me strength," said the Hoffenheim No36. His shirt number is also of particular significance. "I wore this number in Argentina and I wanted to wear it in Germany too. I'm quite superstitious in that respect." Zuculini was on the tip of everyone's tongues in Argentina long before his move to Hoffenheim after being yellow carded for putting himself in danger on the pitch. It sounds curious, but as Zuculini went for a diving header against defender Eduardo Tuzzio, he flew into his opponent's shin and was duly shown a yellow card for putting his own safety at risk. That aside, Franco Zuculini is still adored by the Buenos Aires public and is hoping that he has a similar status among the Hoffenheim faithful soon.