Jens Petter Hauge has revealed that he has no regrets about his decision to join AC Milan and revealed some of the advice from his friend Erling Haaland.
Hauge’s move to Milan is somewhat of a fairytale as he arrived at San Siro for a Europa League qualifier against Milan and by the end of the night we had reported exclusively about Milan’s interest in the Norwegian youngster.
A move was completed in the coming days, and he has had an exciting start to life in Italy as he has netted four times already this season despite limited opportunities, including three goals in Europe, two of which were winners, and a goal against Napoli in Serie A.
Hauge spoke to CBS about the decision to join the Rossoneri, beginning by reliving how he felt ahead of the match against Milan for Bodo/Glimt.
“I remember the days before the match, I was really focusing and wanted to do well because I know how football works, and a game like this can open doors,” he said.
“I prepared well and I remember the night before I was talking with my best friend and the captain of the team about how AC Milan is such a big club. To play here must be amazing and we talked about how they play and the players they have and we said that it can be possible. I remember we were training in the morning before the match and we had to drive like 40 minutes.
“I was mad. I just wanted to relax and prepare and we had to drive to the place where the AC Milan youth team plays. We were in the other part of Milano and it was a long drive to get the day going. When I walked into San Siro for the first time, I just looked around and I was really happy. I thought that this could be a good place for me.”
Hauge discussed the call he got from his agents Atta Aneke and Patrick Bastianelli during which he found out that Paolo Maldini and co. were serious about signing him.
“When they called me it was a good feeling. I was ready. I just had to play one more game with Bodo and there we go and get things started. At that point I was ready to move on from Norway. I wanted to go abroad and have a new challenge.
“We are doing good in our league but there are still many more points to fight for, and also in Europa League I think we have the chance to be one of the last teams remaining, I think we can beat them all. But of course there are some really good teams, especially some English clubs that are really solid.”
Haaland encouraged Hauge to join Milan last summer, he went on to reveal. The pair are compatriots having risen through the ranks of the Norwegian youth sides together, and Haaland even spoke about his admiration for Hauge’s move when he was presented as the winner of the Golden Boy 2020.
“Yeah, we talk a lot, especially in the summer because I almost joined a Belgian club and we were talking. Haaland agreed that maybe it was better if I turned this offer down and waited for a better one. When we spoke after that match against AC Milan, he told me: ‘Go for it, it will be good. Playing at AC Milan will be hard of course. You have to work on stuff with the language but I think it will be good.’ And now I’m really happy with the choice’.
The winger went on to discuss playing alongside the 39-year-old superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I remember I came to the dressing room with a new hat and Zlatan was saying: ‘Are you working as a pizza maker or are you playing football?’ I like when people are joking! He can help me with the language because we speak almost the same language so we can talk together in another language.”
Hauge is also very excited about the AC Milan project: “Here you can be around legends like [Paolo] Maldini. He’s a legend, not only here in Milan but the whole world. And the manager. Pioli, I think he’s a bit similar to the coach I had in Norway in the way he wants to play and what they demand from the players. I’m starting to know what he wants from me with the ball and without the ball too.”