Ismael Bennacer has failed to rule out the idea of ending his career at AC Milan, while he also stressed his belief that this current side can go on and win trophies this season.
Having arrived at Milan from Empoli in 2019, Bennacer quickly established himself not only as a starter in the team but also a pillar of the project and one of the best players in the league in his position.
However, Stefano Pioli was forced to do without the Algerian for a long time after he suffered a knee injury back in May that was so bad it required surgery and a lengthy recovery process.
On Saturday he made his grand return in front of the San Siro faithful, coming off the bench 206 days after his last appearance to help see out the win against Frosinone.
Now the mission is to build up his match fitness up to the level of being a starter once again, but it is certainly a huge step forward for a player that Milan have arguably missed a lot.
Bennacer gave an exclusive interview to Claudio Raimondi of SportMediaset in which he talked about a number of topics from his injury recovery to what the future holds. MilanNews relayed his quotes.
You’re back on the pitch after six long months of waiting…
“When I entered the pitch I forgot these months. The atmosphere and the fans, when I heard them, thrilled me and made me forget these hard months of work.”
What have you been thinking in recent months?
“It hasn’t always been easy, there have been very, very difficult days, but it’s part of this job. I worked a lot to get back, I did it very well, managing the time well. I’m very proud because I’ve learned many things in these months.”
Have you clung to religion?
“Always, every day, faith accompanies me. It is something that makes me see positive things.”
How are you feeling?
“I want to add my qualities to the team, giving everything I can give. I don’t have the pace yet, I’m not 100% yet, but it will come very soon.”
The last time Milan played in Bergamo, you scored…
“A goal would help the team, so if I can do it, of course I’ll try, I’d also be happy. But I only think about helping the team: if it’s with a goal it’s good, if it’s recovering an important ball or making an assist it will be the same.”
Is this Milan Scudetto-worthy?
“We are very focused on the season. We are a little behind, but the season is long, so we are very focused on the next matches. Then we’ll see about the rest.”
You are a flexible player – is there another player like you in football?
“This is a good question… Every player has his qualities, I have mine. Some people look like me, but it’s obvious that I try to play with my qualities. If they see that this helps the team, then it’s good.”
Do you want to try to give everything to bring Milan to the top?
“Of course we believe in the Scudetto. The emotion has passed, now we work. There is a very long road, we have to aim for match after match.”
Reaching the Champions League knockout stages though will be difficult…
“We are Milan, it’s not over yet. We still have some chances, so we will do everything we can to try to qualify.”
How much would Ibrahimovic’s return give you?
“As a team-mate, Ibra brought something to the team. We didn’t talk about this with him and the other teammates. I don’t know if he will come. But Ibra remains Ibra, he would help everyone.”
Who do you like out of the new midfielders?
“Everyone is very good, everyone has their own style of play. Everyone is very strong. We are working to create something even better.”
You are very close to Adli…
“He’s like that, he’s someone who brings joy to the dressing room, he always makes people laugh. When he’s not well, he doesn’t show it: this is good because he always thinks about the team.”
Do you want to stay at Milan for life?
“Why not?! I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but Milan is a team that is close to my heart.”