Ballo-Toure discuss Maldini’s role in his arrival, strengths and weaknesses and first conversation with Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

Fode Ballo-Toure has revealed that he was in disbelief when he learned that a move to AC Milan was possible, reiterating his happiness to be at the club.

A statement on the club’s official website over the weekend confirmed that the Senegal international has signed a contract with the Rossoneri until 30 June 2025, whom he has joined from Ligue 1 side Monaco.

The club have confirmed that he will wear the No.5 jersey, and he joins Mike Maignan, Fikayo Tomori, Sandro Tonali and Olivier Giroud as the arrivals of the summer so far. He has already spoken to Milan TV about his arrival, but now his first press conference has taken place.

On Thursday afternoon in the Milanello conference room, Ballo-Touré was officially unveiled to the media where he answered a number of questions from reporters about his move. His comments were transcribed by MilanNews, and we have translated below.

Why did you choose Milan?

“I’m very happy to be here. At the beginning there was a contact between Maldini and my agent, I didn’t believe it. Then the negotiations with Monaco began, but I only started to believe it when I arrived in Milan.”

How were your first days at Milanello and the meeting with Pioli?

“The first few days went well. I was welcomed well, I already knew Leao, but everyone welcomed me well. Even the language gradually I learn more and more. Pioli told me what he expects from me and that he is always available if I have Need something.”

You didn’t score last year. Do you need to improve on this aspect?

“It’s one of the things I have to improve. I have to do better and score more like Theo Hernandez does.”

What do you have in common with Theo?

“Everyone has his own style. Like him, I am very fast too. I have to improve various aspects, such as from the production point of view, but each has its own qualities and style.”

What is it like to find Maignan here?

“We are very happy to meet again. We shared a few seasons together at PSG and Lille. He is like a brother to me, he has always given me a lot of advice and I will continue to do so. I am happy to play with him again.”

At Milan you also find Tomori whom you faced in the Youth League final a few years ago…

“It’s a great pleasure to see him again. We haven’t talked about that final yet, but we will certainly talk about it. It’s a real pleasure to find him.”

How important was the presence of Maldini in your choice?

“I am very happy that Maldini brought me to Milan and gave me his confidence. He is an important reference.”

Who are you inspired by?

“I don’t have a player to inspire me. As a child I loved forwards, but I’m not inspired by anyone in particular.”

Is Pioli’s Milan the right place for you to make a leap in quality?

“Pioli gives a lot of importance to the full-backs. Being here will help me a lot to improve.”

How can it help you improve the Serie A championship?

“From a technical and tactical point of view I can improve a lot.”

Why did you choose number 5?

“The 5 and 3 are the numbers that are usually worn by left-backs. The 3 was not available so I chose the 5.”

What are your main qualities and where do you need to improve?

“Here I can improve a lot on the defensive phase. I am a very aggressive and fast player.”

What went wrong at Monaco?

“Football is like this, these things happen. It can happen to have ups and downs. But now I’m at Milan and I only think about doing well here.” 

Why did you only want Milan?

“Milan are a great club, I couldn’t miss an opportunity like that. Here I want to improve, I will work hard, then the coach will decide who to play.”

In January there will be the Africa Cup …

“I will be happy to represent my national team in the African Cup. If we have to talk to the club about it, we will do it without problems.” 

Can the fact that there are several French players in Milan help you?

“I am happy that they are there, they can certainly help me also in the translation from Italian if I do not understand something. They will certainly make me feel at ease.”

What are the differences between the Italian and French leagues?

“In France, football is more physical and played with more intensity, while in Italy it is more tactical. It will take great concentration from start to finish.” 

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Tags AC Milan Fode Ballo-Toure
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