Pierre Kalulu believes that AC Milan have a very good chance of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals and also spoke about the potential that the club might move to a new stadium.
Having arrived on a low fee from Lyon without a senior appearance to his name, Kalulu rocked up in Italy as a bit of an unknown quantity and not many will have believed that he would have as much of an impact as he had. However, he is now a virtually immovable starter and was a huge part of last season’s Scudetto win.
Kalulu spoke during an interview with Repubblica about a number of topics from the return leg against Spurs next week to the phone call he had with French NBA star Tony Parker, with his comments relayed by Calciomercato.com.
He began by speaking about the trip to Tottenham that beckons next week, where Milan will aim to defend their 1-0 first leg lead and reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in well over a decade.
“Qualification for the next Champions League with Milan at 98%. It will be difficult at Tottenham, but it is a tournament that belongs to Milan’s identity,” he said.
Kalulu also spoke about the differences between the football played in Serie A and the style played in the Champions League.
“I didn’t grow up in Italy, I would speak of a modern, attacking game, a lot of running, intensity in duels: 20 minutes of the Champions League are more intense.”
On football in Serie A, he added: “Tactical? It depends on who you face, but it’s true that the coaches pay more attention to the defensive phase. In France you defend more as a block, here more individually, one-on-one, which is sometimes more of a risk, but matches against Napoli and Inter are always the most European.”
On the differences between Serie A and the Premier League: “You feel at the same level but the pace has to be higher, everything is faster, effective time changes and you feel it on the pitch. As for money, it helps, but it’s not the price that makes the talent.”
On his arrival at Milan: “I was in the second team at Lyon, Maldini and Massara over a video call told me enthusiastic things about my way of playing: things only those who had observed me for a long time could tell me. This flattered me, it was very nice: they told me that Milan would wait for me 2 months, 6 months, 1 year, 1 year and a half.
On Tony Parker, a former NBA star, who tried to convince him to stay in France: “He video-called me from the USA. I thought I was hallucinating, a three-quarter hour conversation. He told me: I know your talent, the choice is yours. Having his number in your diary is not for everyone.”
On his transfer to Milan for just 480,000 euros: “The amount has never conditioned me. That money didn’t end up in my pocket and it’s not up to me to say if someone made a mistake and someone else made a mistake. But I’m proud to have proved to be stronger than people thought.”
On the possibility of Milan building a new stadium: “Lyon have moved from the old Gerland to a futuristic stadium. San Siro is different, but if the club decides to abandon it, it means we need it. If there is a new one I hope to see it before leaving Milan.”
On Kylian Mbappé’s comment about joining Milan: “And who wouldn’t want that?”
The last sentence mean that he’s going to be sold in the summer?