AC Milan defender Pierre Kalulu has spoken at length about his journey to the Rossoneri, his arrival at the club and life away from football.
Kalulu is very much the man of the moment for Milan, and he has had a remarkable rise since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2020 from Lyon on a free transfer. He initially found minutes hard to come by but got his chances during injury crises, impressing every time.
Now, he is regarded as one of the most important resources in the team, having settled into the centre-back role alongside Fikayo Tomori but also playing right-back to a very high level too, even serving an assist to Rafael Leao in Friday night’s 2-0 win over Genoa.
Kalulu was interviewed by Carlo Pellegatti for StarCasino and went into depth on a number of different topics, with his words relayed by MilanNews.
On his brothers, who are also football players: “The week for us starts on Friday or Saturday, I watch my brothers’ two games and then mine comes later. Then I feel more pressure for them than for me.”
On his parents: “Now it’s normal for them, but watching our games is a special thing. I hope everything goes well (laughs).”
On following the example of his brothers: “When you are little you always want to be like your older brother, because he is an example. They have lived things before me, so they can help me a lot and tell me things before I’m wrong.”
On the youth teams: “When you are little you always have the dream of being a footballer, but when you see your brother playing the most important games you understand that you want to be a player. I want to do everything to be ready for these matches.”
On his father: “Dad and mom helped me, but maybe my dad more because he follows football more. Then the brothers too, but my father followed my growth.”
On his arrival at Milan: “It was a strange moment. I knew there were top teams interested, then I saw Milan… but when Maldini and Massara called me I realised that perhaps the dream could become a reality.”
on his preferred role: “During my career it is always a question that the coaches have asked me. I do everything to be strong and to play either at full-back or centre-back, the important thing is to stay in the starting 11.”
On personality: “People have told me that this is very Italian, perhaps because I always have faith in myself and I say that I have done everything to have all this. So I play without pressure and I want to do it well.”
On what he has improved: “For me I improved on the mental aspect, concentration and the desire to always win. I always want to show that I am strong.”
On Pioli: “The coach is close to us, he is a person who helps you with the personal aspect. When you arrive at Milan and you are young he helps you a lot, for me he will always be a different coach from the others: he gave me my debut and this is what I will always remember.”
On who welcomed him in Milan: “Kessie and Bennacer. I spoke to Ismael before arriving at Milan: when you arrive from the outside, if you have a reference and a mutual friend it is easier, so I spoke to him. Kessie, Leao, Saelemaekers are the ones who helped me the most.”
On what it means to be at Milanello: “That you are worthy of Milan. When we were in the pandemic I didn’t visit anything, so the first impression was exciting.”
On the quality of the team: “For me it is the desire to win and the work. We have this in the team, then we also have quality. Since I arrived we have grown a lot.”
On the goal against Empoli: “With that crowd, I was happy. Then some players caught me and we laughed, but it was a good feeling.”
On Maldini: “He is always at Milanello. He talks to me and gives me advice, he is an important person. When you can learn from these players you are always happy, it is a rewarding thing.”
On France: “I hope to go to Qatar. When you arrive at Milan the goals grow. France have a great team and many strong players, but this is a goal and to achieve it I have to play well with Milan. You don’t have to have limits and work for something big.”
On the strongest attacker he has faced: “Osimehn is a strong attacker, but any attacker I meet, I have to stay close to him. You must always be focused: Victor was fast and he was also very physical.”
On the derby: “It will be a difficult match, I know it will be the details that will make the difference. We are ready for anything. Dzeko and Lautaro? They are very strong, we have to defend with the whole team. They are the most dangerous.”