Kalulu discusses Maldini’s role in his decision, Pioli’s coaching style and renewal

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan defender Pierre Kalulu has set the target of winning the Scudetto again, and admitted that he has the desire to renew his contract as long as he remains a start.

Kalulu was interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport about a number of different topics starting with Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against Napoli, in which Milan suffered defeat for the first time since January in the league.

“Some details made the difference. We lost three points, but not everything is to be thrown away, you also learn from defeats to improve,” he said (via SempreMilan.it).

“Scudetto? Pioli tells us every day: this year it will be even more difficult. It is clear from the fact that the matches with rivals are decided precisely on the details. It is up to us to prove that we are the reigning champions. I am convinced that everyone will fight for the title until the end. In any case we want to finish first again.”

Kalulu came on a free transfer from Lyon (for a small development fee) and without ever having made his debut in the first team, but with his work at Milanello he gained the esteem of his team-mates and the truth of the head coach. He revealed a bit about why he chose the Rossoneri.

“It has a certain effect if Paolo Maldini calls you. I’m used to it now, but the first time he really impressed me. Even though I’m young, I still saw him play, certainly at the end of his career, but he remains a reference,” he said.

“The funny thing is that at the moment the parts were a bit reversed, since I was trying to keep a certain distance and he was trying to convince me. Maldini convinced me by telling me that he had full confidence in me, that I would be part of the first team, finding space according to my growth. So it was.

“He [Maldini] is very present, without ever overlapping the coach. He advises me, for example, on how to defend in certain phases, or on how to manage a certain attacker. Small details that allow you to improve a lot. There is only one Maldini, but I want to build my story and become one of the best in the world.”

Stefano Pioli also deserved credit for his part in helping Pierre Kalulu grow, by putting him in the right situations and showing a lot of faith in the young Frenchman.

“At these levels, it is not trivial for a coach to be able to involve everyone. I appreciate the high intensity of workouts, the same in the game, with healthy competition,” Kalulu said.

“If you do well he tells you, and he knows how to talk to you when you do less well. In moments of doubt, he knows how to motivate, remembering that we are a strong and intelligent group. We are a young team, but with him I have improved a lot.”

On the new arrival Yacine Adli, he added: “We know each other from the youth teams of France. He has the right attitude and all the qualities to make room here too. I’m sure he will prove it by gradually gaining minutes of play.”

There is talk about Kalulu extending his current contract which expires in 2025 given his importance in the project, something Pierre certainly did not refute.

“If all goes well as now, that we win, that I play as a starter, there is only the desire to continue. But there will be a way to talk about the contract with the managers.”

Tags AC Milan Pierre Kalulu

1 Comment

  1. We are so lucky to have Maldini helping the club the way he does!

    This article w/ Kalulu and that excellent interview with Leao — in each article, Kalulu and Leao mention how much Pioli has helped them and their comfort and development. Leao mentioned also Ibra while Kalulu mentions Maldini (which makes sense given their roles on the team).

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