Florenzi discusses injury ordeal, Pioli vs. Spalletti and insists Napoli are beatable

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan defender Alessandro Florenzi has admitted that he was not in a good place while recovering from his latest injury, and insisted that Napoli can be beaten.

The 31-year-old has only made three appearances this season for the Rossoneri as he suffered a hamstring injury at the end of August 2022 which kept him out for practically half a year, and it was another tough blow for the defender given he had two minor knee surgeries last season too.

The former Roma man is getting back to full fitness now though and has made his return to the pitch, with the hope for Stefano Pioli being that he has another versatile player for the right flank but also an experienced leader to help in a difficult moment.

Florenzi spoke to SportMediaset a couple of days before arguably Milan’s biggest test of the season so far at the Stadio Diego Armanda Maradona, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

On returning to the field after many months out: “I’m happy to be back, this break was a godsend for me: I was able to continue working but I did it on the field with my team-mates. I have grown physically and athletically and now I feel ready to help the team even more.”

On having negative thoughts during his time out: “Yes, there was a small moment in which I thought of looking for other ways during these months. But luckily my family made me think about what I wanted and the truth is that when I saw the ball again all those thoughts went away.”

On what he can still give to Milan and Italian football: “I can give a lot and I feel like I can give a lot every day here. I’m ready to help everyone, first of all I have to feel good because then if I’m good I can give a lot.”

On his motivation after the injury: “There’s a lot of motivation that has pushed me to recover in recent months. It’s always sad to see team-mates suffer from the outside and not be able to help them fully. You also suffer but not like when you’re inside the dressing room. Now I hope to be an important piece for Milan and I’m here for that.”

On the many injuries and the Milanello infirmary which is often full: “On this I have a great companion who is Zlatan. Between me and him we have seen some interventions. But all joking aside, we all support each other, we are a beautiful family.”

On the first of the three matches against Napoli: “It’s not the first match of three matches against Napoli. We have to think about one game at a time. Feeling disadvantaged and already defeated is something they said last year too and then many reneged on the criticisms and jumped on the bandwagon.”

On the rumours that last year’s Scudetto was a flash in the pan: “What they say outside doesn’t affect us much. The value of these voices is small, we know we have written an important page for Milan after a long time. We are a strong team, then there are years that go well and others that go less well. And sometimes you find other teams that find their turning point like Napoli this year.”

On the target of the season being a top four spot: “At the moment obviously yes.”

On the quarter-finals against Napoli: “They will be two very tough matches against a strong team but I don’t think they rejoiced so much when they picked Milan, also considering Milan’s history with the Champions League and also seeing the last year and what can we do. They will be two good matches that will take an Italian team to the semi-finals after a long time and this is also good for Italy.”

On whether this Napoli can be beaten: “For me, no team is unbeatable.”

On Spalletti, who he will meet again as an opponent: “I will certainly embrace him in the dressing room, then we will be opponents but he will remain one of the most influential coaches I have had in my career.”

On the rumours he could have joined Napoli after his loan at PSG: “Spalletti and I chatted, then there was nothing concrete but we had exchanged two jokes.”

On how Kvaratskhelia can be stopped: “He is a very good player who is making the difference. I think we can stop more as a team than individually but we have to think about how to stop the Napoli team more than just one player.”

On the perception of Milan’s European DNA: “I think that external pressure also does a lot. I lived in big cities and played in two semi-finals of the Champions League, with Roma and PSG and I felt the same things there too.

“Many think that playing in the Champions League is different than in the league, but simply because in the Champions League you play it all in two games and in the league you play it in 38 games.

“But we don’t face each other in a different way, the team’s approach is the same: for us the match against Napoli in the league will be as important as those in the Champions League.”

On Leao: “Rafa is always very calm. I hope for him and for us that he can make a difference on Sunday. He too knows how important he is for our game, I’m not saying that we are clinging to him because no individual greater than the team so we must try to find ourselves together with him to play a good game.”

On the idea of ending his career at Milan: “Let me get to Sunday then we’ll see…”

On Ibrahimovic who seems to want to continue playing: “He is bionic. What I saw him do to him last year I’ve never seen anyone do. Even from the outside, only his presence gives you a boost, helps you. He always tries to bring out the best in us and also in himself.”

On the differences between Spalletti and Pioli: “Temporarily they are different, when they get angry they are quite similar and make themselves heard. Maybe Spalletti is more fuzzy. They have two different styles of play on the field.”

On the possibility of seeing him again as a winger: “Why not, I’m open to everything. There’s no problem, I can play in any position, even as a forward.”

Tags AC Milan Alessandro Florenzi
Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.