Bennacer believes Milan are ‘stronger’ than Scudetto season and are ‘ready’ for Roma

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer believes that the current team are stronger than the one which won the league title, while he also spoke about his return after a long injury.

It has been a season of two halves for Bennacer, who was out until the back end of the year as he continued to recover from a knee operation that he underwent towards the end of last season, but since returning he has gone straight back to being a very important player.

Reports suggest that he will be called upon once again in tomorrow’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Roma in the midfield double pivot alongside Tijjani Reijnders, which will as always look to disrupt and create in equal measure.

Bennacer spoke alongside head coach Stefano Pioli at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the first leg against Roma, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

You were also in the quarter-finals of a European competitions last year, it was the Champions League, and had an all-Italian match against Napoli. You scored, you had a great game, like the whole team. These are clashes where great mental clarity and great energy are needed. Will it be the same against Roma too?

“Of course, we did well last year but it’s over. Tomorrow we have a match, one of the most important matches of the season. We are ready, we have prepared well. Physically but also mentally. Now it will be a good challenge, an important match.”

Milan have been winning convincingly lately: in your opinion, can we compare this Milan to the Milan of the Scudetto?

“It’s a different Milan. But I think this one is stronger, because we have different players, of greater quality. We have greater quality, also greater experience. We also have a different spirit, perhaps even a little younger, but on the pitch everyone dies for the other.”

For you, how much could the possibility of winning an international trophy be the key, the push, towards the dream?

“Unique. For us maybe it will be the only opportunity to win a trophy like that in your career. When you play a competition like this I think you don’t just want to go to the final, you want to win. Especially when you’re at Milan, when you have this mentality of winning everything But we take it game after game. Now we are focused on tomorrow.”

You have just concluded Ramadan: can you tell us from a spiritual and athletic point of view what has changed for you and how you have dealt with, how will you deal with the change?

“Honestly, it doesn’t change much because the coaches help us a lot when we do Ramadan. They handled it very well and I thank them, because it’s not like that everywhere. For me now it will be even better, because I will be able to drink and eat when I want and I will have more energy, even though during Ramadan I recorded data that I had never done before.”

Are the two legs against Roma worth the entire season for Milan?

“We have one game, tomorrow’s. We don’t think about other games or other teams. We are focused on tomorrow’s game.”

How many AC Milan players could have been there as protagonists in Real Madrid against Manchester City?

“For me, almost the whole team. We are strong. Real Madrid and City are very strong, but so are we. I can’t choose just one or two players. Me too? Either it’s everyone or it’s no one (smiles).”

Since you returned something has changed at Milan. With you the results have improved a lot, do you perhaps feel more like a leader considering that you are among those who have played the longest at Milan in the midfield, but also due to some playing principles that you may have passed on to your team-mates?

“We haven’t been doing well since I came back. You know, the path is always the same, the spirit is always the same. In short, only sometimes it’s a little more delicate, there are a few more injuries, but we are a team so when we do well it means that we are working well.

“Of course, I have been here for a long time, almost five years, so of course I have to give something more, something I know, the experience I have gained, like how the mister sees things for the new players and maybe I know what to do and what not.

“Then I’m coming back, I feel that I’m not 100% yet, but I work every day to be at the top. It’s never easy to come back from a serious injury, but I try and give everything on field and this is the most important thing.”


Tags AC Milan Ismaël Bennacer Milan Roma


  1. Maldini’s Heir isn’t going to like this lol

    How can a team get better by making transfers?? It just doesn’t make sense!

    1. How can a team who let go of “scudetto winners” and “UCL semi-finalists” like Krunic and Saelemakers can possibly improve ?

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