Fonseca says Milan is ‘a universal club’ and commits to using young players

By Euan Burns -

Paulo Fonseca has spoken to the press for the first time as AC Milan coach and has discussed the size of the club as well as his commitment to giving young players opportunities. 

The Portuguese coach spoke to Milan TV (with his comments transcribed by Milan News) and has provided the Milan fans with firsthand insight into his way of thinking and how he intends to approach the job.

Milan is the biggest club in a global sense that Fonseca has been the coach of and he is certainly aware of just how much attention there will be on him from around the world, rather than just within Italy.

“Milan is a universal club. The whole world knows the history of Milan well. I remember that I followed Milan, the team of Gullit, Rijkaard, Van Basten, Baresi, Costacurta, Maldini, Tassotti… All these players that I admired a lot. The history of Milan is fantastic. I think it is difficult not to remember these great moments in the history of Milan,” Fonseca said.

“As coach of Milan I feel a great responsibility but also great pride. When you arrive at a club like Milan there is the responsibility to defend a club with a history that is known throughout the world. You also have to have the ambition to win, at Milan you have to work to win.”

One of the great things about Milan as a club is that there is a very strong academy and fans would love to see those players get minutes in the first team.

Fonseca has a great track record for trusting young players during his career and with someone like Francesco Camarda trying to break into the first team, it seems a pathway will exist.

“For me, players have no age. If they have the courage and the quality to play, then I let them play. I know that we have young players with quality. If they show courage, I will let them play, age is not a problem for me,” he said.

Fonseca has taken charge of his first two training sessions and is getting to know people at the club and on the experience of the early days, Fonseca said: “I have to thank the people who welcomed me here. I really enjoyed meeting the people who work at the Club. I really liked Milanello, the feelings are very positive.”

Childhood and past

“I had a happy childhood, I grew up in a humble family. I was always playing football and watching. I grew up in a normal, happy way. Times were different, we had the opportunity to have a childhood playing football in the street. I had a normal path at school, but always with my head in football.”

Born in Mozambique, grew up in Portugal and then lived in Italy, Ukraine, and France. How has this experience as a citizen of the world enriched you? 

“I was born in Mozambique, a former colony of Portugal. We have a history with Africa and war. I was born there but I must say that I immediately returned to Portugal with my family, I don’t remember anything about Mozambique. Eight years ago I left Portugal for the first time and it was a great experience. First because I got to know different cultures and then because I had the opportunity to start speaking different languages. In Ukraine the experience was fantastic, here in Italy everyone understood how much I like the country. In France it was also a great experience. I am very rich thanks to these experiences. It is a great source of wealth [to live in other countries].”

What is your relationship with Italy? 

“I married a Ukrainian. When I stop I don’t know if I will return to Portugal or Ukraine, in our heads we want to live in a different country. I must say that I am passionate about Italy, it is a beautiful country, the food is good, the people are very emotional and nice. When I left Rome I seriously thought about living here in Italy. Today I am very happy to return, I feel very good here. I really like Italian culture. In the future we will see what happens, maybe I will stay and live here.”

What do you expect at Milan?

“I think all Italians are passionate about football. What I felt when I played here at San Siro was an incredible atmosphere. I expect to be able to experience these emotions with our fans. I expect to build something here that makes the fans proud and have this feeling of being one with the stadium when we play here at San Siro.”

How much do you want to discover the city of Milan?

“When I arrived in Rome I decided to live in the city, I like to experience the atmosphere of the city. Here I expect to do the same. When we have the opportunity to live in a beautiful city like Milan we have to take advantage of the beauty that the city has to offer. I want to experience this in Milan, I don’t know the city well and I want to do it because I know it’s a beautiful city.”

Are you a curious person? 

“I am a curious person. There are many things I want to know, what I want is to see the passion of our fans at San Siro with the team.”

How much do you want to see Serie A with the stadiums open? 

“A lot, a lot, a lot. I have this desire to see this energy in all the stadiums in Italy, especially in San Siro.”

Have you had a lot of courage in life? 

“Yes. I think that in life you want to win you have to take risks, and to take risks you have to have the courage to be different. We coaches have an obligation to people who love football. We don’t just have to win, but also have a style that excites the fans. We have to create a show, and to do that we have to have courage, we have to have people who work with us who have courage and experience football with passion. This is my way of thinking.”

Is the process of creating an identity an additional challenge? 

“I think it is fundamental to create a strong identity in the team. That is what I want to do, to have a very strong identity that allows us to have quality in our play and ambition to win every game.”

Will your wife Kateryna follow you on this adventure to Milan? 

“My support is my family, it is essential to bring them here. Kateryna loves Italy and I think she will be very very happy in Milan, even with the children. For me it is essential to have my family with me.”

How do you manage to disconnect from football and spend time off the pitch? 

“I work a lot, but when I get home I find time for my family. I really like music, the first thing I do when I wake up is turn on music to start the day off right. I am a very simple person: I find time for my family, to watch a few series on TV. For my balance it is important to have these moments with my family.”

What is the greatest football or life lesson you have learned? 

“I have received many. I believe a lot in honesty. When we do things with passion and honesty we are rewarded for it. What has happened in my life has shown me that this is the case. When we are honest with ourselves and with those who work with us it is easier to achieve our dreams.”

What does Paulo Fonseca want today? 

“To win with Milan.”

Tags AC Milan Paulo Fonseca

9 Comments

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  1. Then start to bleed Zeroli into a 3 with Reijnders and Fofana with RLC as cover.

    And use Terraciano as your attacking option on the right of defence and forget about Royal.

  2. Jif that’s the case then I expect to see zeroli, sia, liberali, camarda, bartesaghi, Jimenez, eletu and a few others getting minutes.

    1. rotfl if they’d really want to sign “proper” players then Fonseca won’t be coach in the first place, but a proper coach instead xD

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