De Ketelaere responds to idea of Milan return: “I don’t want to end up on the bench again”

By Oliver Fisher -

Charles De Ketelaere has admitted that his desire is to join Atalanta on a permanent basis in the summer window, because he does not like the idea of returning to AC Milan to be stuck on the bench.

De Ketelaere was Milan’s marquee signing in the 2022 summer transfer window that followed the Scudetto win, but he struggled in his first season at the club with zero goals and just one assist to his name across over 40 appearances.

Thus, the decision was made to send De Ketelaere on loan to Atalanta, giving them the option to buy at the end of the deal.

For most of the season, they have been expected to use it given that he has 10 goals and eight assists to his name. However, a recent report claimed that the playmaker returning to the Rossoneri may not be out of the question.

De Ketelaere spoke during an interview with HLN after the win over Liverpool on Thursday night and his comments have been relayed by

“I’ve learned a lot from the negative season at Milan. It helped me to take steps forward and it will help me more in the future. You can learn a lot from a good season, but you learn even more from seasons that are not so good,” he said.

“I am happy at Atalanta; I’ve found the right environment for me and my playing style, which only Atalanta could give me. We play good football and all the players know what to do. Gasperini is tough but also fair.

“If it were up to me, I’d stay here because I can further improve. Milan are a big club, but I need to play right now and I don’t want to end up on the bench again. Atalanta are helping me, from the staff to my team-mates and the fans who have made me feel at home.”

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere


        1. Yeah and a lot of those games he only played 10-20-30 minutes. I think things could have gone a lot differently had he not been extremely unlucky but sometimes things just doesnt goes as we hope them to do.

  1. Guess depends on who the coach is. He won’t find success under pioli at Milan. Dude rather plays logs like Ruben in AM then technical guys

      1. This mental thing, if it’s so hard then surely that’s all the more reason to give players longer to settle in?

        And as for the current players, well aren’t they by definition capable of playing for Milan given they do in fact play for Milan (who are second in Serie A)?

        I mean I’m sure reality could never match your fervent imagination, but surely it’s got to feature at some point.

        1. Depends on your definition of “capable of playing for Milan given they do in fact play for Milan”.
          I still have nightmares full of Zapata, Constant, Biglia, Honda,… just to name a few.
          Your ceiling is sure not very high for what Milan should be.

      2. i dont agree. you took a kid and thrown it out into the world, under a hefty price tag to somehow carry a team like Milan.. Some might raise to the challenge some might need a while to get going. As for cdk the talent is there, but his integration was cr*p.

        I remember, now years ago, under Pioli our guys had that fire and desire to play and win. And they did. Now its gone. Thats why they look like they dont deserve their spots and CDK came to the club when sh*t was on a downward spiral. He can play for Atalanta and beat Liverpool on anfield (be it against many subs) but he cant play for Milan? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…

        1. The issue is a bit more complicated IMO.
          CDK is doing well within a team that plays in a completely different way. He is not playing as an AM but rather as a support striker in a 3-4-3.
          Should he come back the only position truly useful for him is the CF but he would be the lone striker. He has no guarantee to be a starter either as a CF or as an AM.
          I’m not saying that he will necessarly fail with us, but there is no indicator of a potential success either.

          1.’s a different system there. My question is why couldn’t pioli tweak our system (we have none for starters) to facilitate a player that was bought for a nice sum.. and cdk isn’t a starter starter at atalanta either.. gasperini rotates a lot. As for the AM, we dont play with an AM either. Ruben is basically a SS nowadays. A poor one might i add. (One assist in 2591 games)

          2. @flyingturtle: That’s is a very good topic.
            I would agree that CDK’s case was mishandled on many levels.
            The problem is that he was brought primarly as an AM which turns out not be his favourite position (he was mostly used as a striker the prior season with Bruges) and we already had Giroud and Origi as strikers. Why Pioli never tried using him as a striker escapes me, but maybe because of the so many scoring chances he missed. Also again, rotating players well and giving chances to young players who need time is not exactly Pioli’s strength.
            As for changing systems, well we actually did try 3-4-3 at some points during last seasons and it didn’t work so well especially with Leao. Currently we need to keep using Leao as a winger, who simply can’t or doesn’t want to play in a more central way or closer to the goal.

  2. There were two ex-Milan players in the 3:0 win over.

    Last summer we signed 3 box to box players and we could’ve had Pašalić playing for us for 7 seasons and over a hundred matches. Instead for most of that time he’s been playing for our rivals.

    There’s nearly an entire starting 11 of ex-Milan players playing for the top teams:


    Darmian Acerbi Romagnoli

    Bellanova/Saelemaekers De Sciglio

    Locatelli/Cristante/Tonali Pašalić Bonaventura

    CDK El Shaaraway

    It’s absolutely ridiculous. Players that could’ve been with our club for years have been playing for our rivals whilst we’ve been hitting the recent button multiple times.

    1. Donnarumma insane wage demands.

      pasaelic was never owned by milan as he was only on loan with an option if i remember correctly.

      Bellanova refused to renew,

      Darmian was partially owned by two clubs due to the previous system where clubs made blind offers on who would own them and the one that offered the most ended up owning the player.

      acerbi was a bust,

      romagnolis salary was above 6 mil a year in his last season with us so no point in renewing a player that had become a backup player at that point. Add to that it was always in the cards that he would join lazio and interviews with the lazio president has indicated that the two had spoken about it for several years prior to him joining them.

      de sciglio asked to be sold because the fans harrassed him and his best years are well beyond.

      Locatelli wouldnt accept a straight up loan and milan accepted it and lend him ti sassuolo with a manadtory buy clause, Should have set it higher though.

      cristantes sale financed bonaventuras deal.

      El sharawy demanded to be lent out instead of fighting for his place and eventually was loaned out again with the obligation of a sale.

      I can understand some of your argumentation but its not as simple as you make it seem.

      1. Oh you’ve saved me the trouble! Anytime he goes on the past players rant, it lacks massive context. Granted the only one or two I really missed are Darmian and Donnarumma. Otherwise ….I’m not sure we’re missing much. Clubs aren’t clamouring for Pasalic. Plus The rest wanted to go elsewhere. Bonaventura was waaay past his best. Him having an ok season now kinda glosses over his last couple of seasons with injuries.

        1. To be fair i can understand some sentiments of his in regard of longevity and coherency within a squad but truth be told im not really missing any of the players. I was not necessarily happy that cdk didnt get a year more but on the other hand if there was no room for him it did makes sense skipping him out. I was sad to see several of them leave but wouldnt want donnarumma near the club anylonger. It would have been nice in my book had bonaventura been part of the scuedetto season but its not like he is really missed and he woud only be a backup player. Darmian could have been used in the banter era but wouldnt want him in our team today unless maybe he was used as a theo backup.

    2. And what is your solution for all of those ?
      -Donnaruma asked for 8M a year and we got Maignan instead of him.
      -Romagnoli was a sub at that point and earning 6M a year. The management wanted him to cut his wage to 2,8M and Lazio offered him 3,5M.
      -Saelemakers wanted to go because he didn’t like being a substitute to Messias and Diaz. Now we have Pulisic who is not far from having the same G+A as all of them combined and Chukwueze seems to be improving. He was always gonna end up being a sub.
      -Acerbi simply didn’t not do well with us.
      -CDK was loaned because Pioli wanted to switch to a 4-3-3 where he couldn’t start.
      -We were always gonna lose Tonali because of the gambling issue.
      – I find it interesting that you didn’t name players like Hakan, Aubameyang,…
      You rely too much on the benefit of hindsight. Sometimes players don’t succeed, don’t have a place or simply don’t want to stay in Milan. It’s easy to regret their departure years later when they’re doing well, but we can’t assess players because they “might” do well a decade later with different teammates and different coaches.
      You for example always criticize Adli and Musah and consider them inferior to former players we used to have. My question for you is, should Adli and Musah go elsewhere and succeed, would you rethink your criticizm or not ?

      1. “You for example always criticize Adli and Musah and consider them inferior to former players we used to have. My question for you is, should Adli and Musah go elsewhere and succeed, would you rethink your criticizm or not ?”

        Chefs kiss right there!
        That was brilliant 😁

      2. some fans criticize when player stay, when they leave, when they dont want to leave, heck sometimes fans criticize players we are linked with and dont even have yet.
        Point is, some fans just want to see the world burn. hahha.
        Brilliant argument. Well done sir.

    3. There’s reason that one club players like Maldini, Baresi, Puyol, Gerrard – to name a few – were so special.

      In a players career there will always be some desire/need to leave the club, be it for sporting reason, money, or personal. So of course there will be always a bunch of players that is playing for other club and reached their peak years/long career there.

      Don’t forget, aside from Maldini and Baresi, our best stars also coming from other team – Pirlo, Inzaghi, Nesta, to name a few.

      You can also name the same starting eleven from sold players from other clubs – that’s normal in football.

      For example, Chelsea



      Declan Rice


      Morata, Lewis Hall, Jamal Musiala, Mount

      Theres also other teams.

  3. With this menthality he shows only weekness.If you are strong you embrace competition,because that’s what makes you better and stronger.If you are weak you are affraid you might lose what you think you already have.Stay there and gives us the money.

      1. I think you’re right there is a subtext to what he is saying.
        He said his team mates and fans made him feel at home.
        It always looked to me that he had not integrated with the other players, which was a major factor in his low confidence.

        1. So if a new player fail to integrate with other players, it’s always the fault of the club, manager, and other players?

          Some players needed time to develop, we understand that. But when a player rant that he can’t integrate to the club – sometimes the problem lies with the player itself. Remember Yoann Gourcuff?

  4. I am happy for the lad that he feels better where he is.
    His overall form has improved but I would argue it is still not great.
    I have watched him with interest.
    The media always latches on to stats as its easier than actually doing research.
    V’s Liverpool for example, I keep hearing how amazing he was. The reality is different.
    Just watch 11mins 30 secs into that game – He is on the edge of the 6 yard box, unmarked, he recieves a perfect ball to feet, instead of shooting he does a flick and sends the ball out to a team mate on the edge of the box! Of course the chance is then gone.

    It does not matter what your position is, what level of player you are etc, if you receive the ball there you shoot, if you miss then your not a great finisher, but not taking the shot in favor of a dumb flick is just cowardly.
    He never shows the killer attitude you need to be a good forward

  5. Does he think that just because he was invisible for the whole season pople will somehow forget that he got 1000+ minutes here?

  6. Work out a deal for Scamacca that includes CdK. Then they can spend more on a most critical position never addressed since Kessie left.

    1. It’s a solid idea Ted.
      Especially given that the list of strikers we have been linked with are very uninspiring.
      Maybe we should hold off until we find the RIGHT player, while getting a solid striker to fill the gap

  7. I mean I can’t blame him. He was under utilized and mismanaged at Milan.

    I wish him best success wherever he chooses to take his career.

  8. Well he dont want compete with other player and want guarantee starter. No big club in top 5 europe league want to accept his demand starter. Staying in atalanta are best option for him

  9. ““I am happy at Atalanta; I’ve found the right environment for me and my playing style, which only Atalanta could give me. We play good football and all the players know what to do. Gasperini is tough but also fair.”

    This says everything there is to say. Read between the lines. A lot of criticism of the coach (our coach) here. He doesn’t want to come back, and if Atalanta don’t make him permanent then we’ll have a very unhappy player on our hands. We will have to sell (which suits me anyway).

  10. CDK is a perfect example of Pioli not being able to grow the players whilst Gasperini excels in that. This together with several injuries is the product of not having a good rotation of players.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.