Calabria on his recovery from ‘personal difficulty’ and how confrontations helped make a ‘very strong’ team

By Oliver Fisher -

Defender Davide Calabria has suggested that AC Milan could absolutely aim for the Scudetto this season, as there are ‘no limits’.

In a way, Calabria’s resurgence as a Milan player after a difficult time of things are a perfect reflection for the team in general, as pretty much every member of the squad has raised their level of performance and the plans of Stefano Pioli are now bearing fruit.

The Rossoneri are 20 games unbeaten in Serie A and are currently two points clear at the top of the league table, with whispers beginning to emerge that a title challenge could very well be possible.

Calabria was interviewed by well-known journalist Carlo Pellegatti for StarCasino Sport, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

On his first steps in football: “I had my first kicks with my friends in my country’s team, Virtus Adrense, I have wonderful memories. Mine still live there, I happen to visit the managers who work there and the boys . I did two trials with Milan, they picked me, I had other requests but having been born in a Milanese family when I was ten I decided to undertake this path.”

On his role: “I was a midfielder, I was until the Allievi where I started playing the role of full-back due to a lack of players. I did a bit of all the roles, then I was moved to the right until the Primavera.”

On his idols growing up: “I grew up with Ancelotti’s Milan, they were all great players, a team that won a lot. Paolo was an example to follow, but everyone. Seedorf, Pirlo … I find it hard to leave someone out.”

On his team-mates in the youth sector: “I still speak to Davide Di Molfetta and Ferrari, I grew up with them. I remained attached to them, I saw them again not long ago. I am pleased to speak to the guys with whom I have made this long journey. . I take this opportunity to greet them.”

On his Serie A debut: “It was from January that I was almost fixed in the first team with Inzaghi, I was called by the Primavera to go to Naples, but due to a blow we avoided being called up.

“Felicioli made his debut in that match, from there I sensed that I could make my debut, the next match happened in Bergamo. It is a stadium to which I am attached, it was a wonderful experience. incredible emotion, the first ball you touch is an indelible memory and I thank mister Inzaghi again.”

On the best moment: “Probably the first goal in Rome, a chip at the Olimpico with Totti in the stands, against Alisson. It was a happy moment, the team was doing very well and so was I. It was the icing on the cake. I remember the celebration under the Curva, it was an exciting moment.”

On his most difficult moment: “Last year I had moments of personal difficulty, I didn’t have too much help but I didn’t even look for it. I tried not to be influenced by rumours, a boy of 22/23 can spend a period of difficulty, the team was not doing well and also on a personal level suffer from it.

“I also thought if it was the right path at that moment, I convinced myself that I should not give up. You have to give it a go and go your own way. Nobody gave me anything and I got out.”

On his recovery in 2020: “It was triggered more for revenge, I’m living it to prove to myself and to some that they were wrong about me. Instead of being subjected to it, I’m drawing conviction.

“It’s a mental shot that you must have as a player if you want to stay at certain levels. I’m feeding on pressure, I’m very happy with my post-lockdown path, as well as that of the team.”

On Pioli: “We had a few too many discussions with the coach at the beginning. As men we confronted each other, we discussed what was wrong. From the following days we managed to create a relationship that is very strong, as well as the one with the whole team.

“It is no coincidence that a team is good or bad. If you bond a lot, one subconsciously gives something more. We are giving a lot and the coach is giving a lot to us, we hope he can come back as soon as possible.”

On the team: “We look at one game at a time, we don’t let ourselves be influenced by the outside. We have to work as we are doing, looking game by game. I’ve never liked to look too far, let’s think about the present. If we work well we will reap the rewards further on.”

On the Scudetto: “Why not believe it? There are no limits. You set the limits for yourself. I think we have to think as big as possible, then we’ll see how well this team can do. It’s too early to talk about the goals, we have to continue on this path, thinking about the next races. We will talk about it in a few months.”

On the sacrifice on the pitch: “It is a fundamental moment for the team, we have to overcome our limits. We are in a historical period with close matches, there are no breaks, it is very stressful for the body and we try to overcome our limits by giving everything to help our teammates in times of difficulty. On the pitch it shows, we are ready for each other.”

On Ibrahimovic: “I think it was fundamental especially at the beginning. He made us understand what it means to want to win at all costs. You must never be satisfied. It makes no sense to set limits, it makes no sense to be satisfied with a result.

“The mentality that I found in Ibrahimovic I have never seen in any player. He did everyone good also for the future, he came to us to get back in the game.”

On the absence of the Swede: “We faced the period without Ibra in the best way, unfortunately it has already happened to us. He will have to give us even more stimulus, we are a strong team, we need to give something more so that we don’t miss him, obviously someone like him is always better to have him on the pitch. We can’t wait for him to come back.”

On his passions away from football: “I have a passion for oenology, my grandfather passed it on to me. I’m studying when I can, maybe it’s the only passion I have. I’ve never played video games, I’ve always preferred to go out with friends.”

On Milan: “It’s a beautiful city, I’ve always enjoyed it, it’s home now. It’s a modern city, you can always find something to do and see. People are open and available, I think it’s a perfect city.”

On his favourite dish: “I like risotto so much, since we are talking about it, the Milanese risotto is one of my favorites.”

On his favourite series: “Prison Break or Breaking Bad”.

On the national team: “It was a strong emotion, it was a reward for the course, it was a huge satisfaction after bad times. I’m happy and thank the coach, even if unfortunately I didn’t know him because of the virus. It is a team that I already knew but I had a great time right away.”

On the childhood dream: “As a child I always had the dream of winning the Champions League with Milan.”

Tags AC Milan Davide Calabria

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