Hakan Calhanoglu has made the bold claim that he is still well appreciated by the Milan plans after joining their city rivals Inter.
Calhanoglu said goodbye to Milan over the summer, rejecting the contract renewal offered by Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara in favour of trying something new. However, any apathy towards the situation quickly turned to confusion when it was revealed that he would be joining Inter.
Of course the Turkey international stayed in Milan and moved to a team that will also be playing in the Champions League, but many saw it as a betrayal after the club stuck by him for four years.
Now, Calhanoglu has publicly explained his decision for the first time during an interview with il Corriere dello Sport.
“Why did I choose Inter? In my career I like to try new challenges and I needed one. In addition, Inter are a good team, they have won the last Scudetto and several derbies since I have been in Italy,” he said (via MilanLive).
Calhanoglu then expressed gratitude to Milan for his time with the Rossoneri, who he joined from Bayer Leverkusen as part of the summer spending spree back in 2017.
“At Milan I spent four important years of my life and career, in fact I left many friends there. There have also been very difficult moments, but in the last two years I have grown a lot thanks to Pioli, they have been better seasons than the first two.”
On his relationship with the Milan fans, he added: “Have they forgiven me? I can say that I often meet Milan fans when I go to a restaurant with my family. They ask me to take pictures and they tell me they love me. I’ve never had any problems with anyone at Milan, on the contrary I still have excellent relations with everyone there.”
Calhanoglu’s mind is on the derby that will happen on 7 November where Milan will be the ‘home’ team at San Siro.
“The derby in Milan is unique, exciting. The Milan defenders know me as well as I know them. It will not be an advantage, I will have to work a lot. Will I celebrate in the event of a goal? If it happens, I will do it as always…”