De Ketelaere discusses first impressions of Milan and reveals preferred role: “I can’t wait to play”

By Oliver Fisher -

New signing Charles De Ketelaere has revealed his initial impressions of being at AC Milan and also touched on his preferred role.

In the end it was quite a saga surrounding De Ketelaere as Milan were locked in negotiations for weeks over a fee with Club Brugge before finally agreeing a deal with the Belgian champions, beating competition from other clubs.

After flying to Italy on Monday and undergoing his medical on Tuesday, he was officially presented as a Milan player and began training with his new team-mates under the orders of Stefano Pioli on Wednesday.

Today was the day of the official presentation press conference during which De Ketelaere answered questions from the journalists who gathered at Milanello. The questions and his responses have been transcribed by MilanNews and we have translated them.

What do you expect from this adventure at Milan?

“I really like the passion of the fans, it’s for them that we play football. I’m ready to follow the rhythms of training at Milanello, I’m used to it, I just have to get used to a higher level.”

How long was the wait before arriving at Milan?

“The last few weeks have been difficult. You know what happened, I have always expressed my desire to my agents to go to Milan. I had to give something up, but the most important thing for me was to get here.”

Do you have a nickname?

“My name is said in multiple ways. It is not as important to me how you pronounce it. I don’t have a nickname.”

Was the AC Milan project one more reason to come here?

“Yes, he played an important role, I saw how the young players here have grown. I hope it will be the same for me too.”

What do you think of the comparison with Kaka?

“Kakà was a great player, I’ve seen a lot of his videos. I have my characteristics and my qualities. I hope to bring the same successes to Milan that he brought him.”

How will the challenge with your compatriot Lukaku be? You also have the same jersey number…

“I’ve always had this number at Brugge, it has always brought me luck and so I’ve kept it here too.”

How have you found the first days in Milano?

“There are many differences compared to Belgium. Here at Milanello I was surprised by the intensity of the training, I immediately understood how they managed to win the title. I see everyone very involved.”

How did your team-mates welcome you?

“I only did a few training sessions, but everyone welcomed me well. They are interested in how I feel and how I am on the pitch. I am discovering this new reality, but the sensations are absolutely positive.”

Did Belgium coach Roberto Martinez influence you in your choice?

“Absolutely not. He knew I would go to a great club where I could play continuously. I want to play as much as possible and show the coach that I deserve to be called up for the next World Cup.”

Did you also have to negotiate with your girlfriend?

“She always agrees with my choices. It will be a great opportunity for her to come here too, but she has to finish her studies first.”

What did Paolo Maldini tell you?

“For me it was an honor to have spoken with him. He is a legend of this club, but even now he has an important role. The Milan project was also fundamental in my choice, I was very attracted to the project.”

What’s your favoured role?

“Technically I have good qualities, I help in goals and assists. I am a dynamic player. In terms of position I have played more roles. I see myself as an attacking midfielder, I like to play close to another striker. I feel like an attacking midfielder.”

Charles De Ketelaere insight: Scouting report, stats, transfer rating and more

Are you ready to become a great AC Milan No.10 like Savicevic and Rui Costa?

“It is important to look to the future and to what the growth of the club will be. I want to participate in this growth, I want to make my contribution. The legends will always remain legends, I want to make my contribution to achieve the desired results.”

Is there an opponent you can’t wait to face?

“There are many great players in Serie A. However, I don’t focus on one particular opponent, I only have to think about giving my best and helping the team.”

How useful can your quality in the Champions League be?

“One of our goals is to move forward in the Champions League. It won’t be easy, we have a lot of commitments, but we will do our best to get through the group stage.”

Is there any player that particularly inspires you?

“I’ve always admired Cristiano Ronaldo. At my age to say I’m at their level would be presumptuous. I’ll do my best to improve and grow.”

What will it be like to work and play with Ibrahimovic?

“I can learn a lot from Ibra who has a lot of experience in football. I can also learn a lot from other more experienced players. Having Ibra by my side will be a great emotion.”

What do you like to do off the pitch? 

“I’m a guy who likes to be with his family. I like to follow other sports too.”

Are you ready to play against Vicenza?

“Yes, sure. I can’t wait to play a few minutes tomorrow in Vicenza. The coach told me I’ll play for a few minutes, I can’t wait.”

Why did you choose football instead of tennis?

“I played a lot of tennis, but I also played football a lot. For me the choice was easy because at that age I liked playing football with my friends. Thanks to tennis, I learned to play with greater concentration and it helped improve coordination.”

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