Former AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati has revealed that the Rossoneri had his replacement lined up 12 years ago in Hugo Lloris.
Abbiati currently holds the record for the most appearances as a goalkeeper for Milan with 380 and actually served as a club manager in the 2017-18 season under the Chinese ownership, before stepping aside.
He has had loan spells at Borgosesia Calcio, Juventus, Torino and even Atletico Madrid, winning three Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, two Supercoppas, one UEFA Champions League and one UEFA Super Cup.
However, it could have been a different story altogether. Interviewed by Derbyderbyderby.it , the former goalkeeper recalled his arrival from Monza and that surprising first year.
“I was Milan’s third goalkeeper behind Lehmann and Sebastiano Rossi. When the season started I thought only of improving. I certainly did not think of playing it and having opportunities. I never thought I could be the Scudetto goalkeeper. And instead it went just like that,” he said.
Abbiati recalled that in the summer of 2008 Milan could have signed Hugo Lloris.
“I had a great season at Atletico Madrid, I was confident and I was convinced I could get back in at Milan. I had started talking to President Zamparini to go to Palermo, if I had gone Milan would have taken Lloris from Nice, but I felt too safe that time, I thanked Zamparini and stayed at Milan.
“Ancelotti said that Dida and Kalac would leave on an equal footing. Dida was in his last year, Kalac conceded five goals against Chelsea in a friendly match, I won the TIM trophy in Turin against Juventus and Inter and went back to the starting line-up.”
Interestingly, it was recently reported that Milan are looking at the possibility of signing Lloris from Tottenham this summer if Gianluigi Donnarumma departs.
Goal reported that Milan had agreed a four-year deal for Lloris to join the Rossoneri from Nice in 2008 as Dida’s replacement, but he instead joined Lyon.
On the current state of his former club, Abbiati said: “In recent years as a goalkeeper and coach I have suffered a lot, because I no longer saw my Milan, because I saw that the new generations of players are different from ours. This is also why I stopped being a coach.”