Ismael Bennacer will be part of AC Milan’s matchday squad for tonight’s game against Frosinone as his long recovery process finally comes to an end after half a year.
Bennacer suffered a serious knee injury during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Inter that not only put him out for the rest of the season but also threatened to end his 2024 prematurely too.
He had to undergo an operation to fix the cartilage in his knee on May 16 and he has been out of the picture ever since. However, he has been back training with the squad for over a couple of weeks and it has been decided that he is ready to be called up for tonight’s game, albeit for the bench.
Bennacer spoke to Calciomercato.com about his long road to recovery and what he wants to achieve now he will be back out on the field in a red and black shirt.
Has it been difficult for you not to be able to do what you love, playing football and helping Milan, in these six months? How has it been on a psychological level?
“It was difficult at first, the night of the injury it was very difficult because I didn’t know what I had. The next day I had an MRI and they told me I would return after 8/9 months. I was very very sad but in those moments we have to see the glass half full because that’s how you move forward.
“I had more time for myself, for my family, to work on things I didn’t have time for before. Playing every three days you don’t have time for these things. Now I’m happy because I’m ready.”
Can you tell us the secrets of your recovery in record time?
“Sleep, sleep well. Yes, maybe I slept very well, ate well too. My family was there and this is very very important. Then I set goals for myself every day, I only thought about that. Then I didn’t want to force myself to come back sooner but the facts said this, that I’m ready. Now I’m just waiting for this, I want to play again.”
In recent days there has been a lot of talk about the real strength of Milan: in your opinion is it a Scudetto team?
“Of course, we are Milan. Regardless, without looking at the names of the players, we always have the championship in mind. It will be very hard but we believe in it a lot.”
What is your secret dream: winning the second star or the Champions League with Milan?
“The Champions League, of course. The Champions League with Milan. Even if it will be hard, I believe in it, I believe in it because when you play for this team you understand that anything can happen.”
What are your three favourite moments at Milan?
“Without a doubt the day of my debut with the Rossoneri, against Brescia at San Siro, then the Scudetto won against Sassuolo and the goal in the Champions League against Napoli.
And the more difficult months?
“The injury and maybe two months, October-November, in the year we won the Scudetto. Certainly in these four and a half years I have learned a lot at Milan.”
What can you tell us about Yacine Adli?
“We have a good relationship, not only because we are French and have the same origins. We haven’t played together yet, but in training you can see the strong connection that is between us. For me he is a little brother, I am happy that this year he played more. He deserves it, he works a lot for that, he will play again.”