AC Milan defender Pierre Kalulu has revealed that he is feeling happy and settled in Italy, also admitting that he used to use a current team-mate when playing video games while younger.
Back in the summer of 2020, Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara swooped in as Kalulu’s contract with Lyon expired. They only had to pay a compensation fee of around €400k to secure the defender, and it has turned out to be an absolute steal.
Kalulu was an unknown youngster to many at the time given that he had not yet made a senior appearance for Lyon before his move over to Italy, but he has hit the ground running and has now made himself a virtually immovable member of the starting line-up thanks to his development and Pioli’s trust.
Kalulu gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) in which he was asked about a number of topics from the current season so far to his decision to sign for Milan.
On having chosen Serie A instead of the Premier League: “Serie A is underestimated. In France it is still believed that people play with Catenaccio. Instead it is quite the opposite: all the teams build from the back, apply pressure across the pitch, play hard physically. There is a high technical and tactical level and ruthless competition, with six, seven high level matches to be played against rivals.”
On his idols from a very young age: “I have no idols, but I am inspired by Thiago Silva, Virgil van Dijk, Kalidou Koulibaly: I try to take the best of each and put it into practice.”
On what was more exciting, his the debut at ‘San Siro’ or the celebration for the Scudetto: “When I saw the thousands of fans in the square I realised what it means to win with Milan. The debut was a more personal emotion, but just as intense.”
On his role on the pitch: “My aim is to guarantee the coach maximum versatility and maximum quality for both roles. If I go on the pitch it’s to be the best, as a full-back or centre-back it doesn’t matter.”
On the calmness he shows despite being only 22 years old: “I have faith in my abilities, but it is necessary to work hard every day to cultivate them, and to better manage the pressure and emotions you experience on the pitch.”
On having compatriots Mike Maignan and Theo Hernández in the defence: “Language facilitates things and creates an ideal working climate. Mike is a leader who conveys confidence, like Theo who dominates on the wing. I try to do the same with them.”
On Olivier Giroud who has dispelled the curse of the No.9 at Milan: “As a forward he gives me a lot of advice. He never believed in curses.”
On Yacine Adli who has not yet imposed himself: “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 am sure that he will prove it by gradually gaining minutes of play.”
On his relationship with Fikayo Tomori and the return of Simon Kjær: “Competition is always good. We need it. The more the better, for everyone. And at Milan there is no ambiguity: we all give our best for the team.”
On what it was like to be in the locker room Zlatan Ibrahimović: “At the beginning he is impressive because I used to play using him, but on the PlayStation. But then you realise that if he is still at these levels it is because he works hard every day. He passed on this need that helps us even when he’s not on the pitch.”
On the double header in the Champions League against Chelsea and the new signings: “Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere have great qualities and experience they need. Against Chelsea it will be a good test to prove our worth as Italian champions. The history of Milan does not weigh, indeed it is an extra motivation. It won’t be easy, but we are proud to have the opportunity to take Milan to the top of Europe.”
On the World Cup in Qatar with France as the new Maldini: “There is only one Maldini, but I want to build my story and become one of the best in the world. The dream is to go to the national team: no one would say no to the World Cup.”
On how much the advice of his brothers count: “A lot. We look at all our games and then we comment on them to understand where to improve. If I am at Milan today it is also thanks to their advice.”
On how he finds living in Milano: “La dolce vita! Seriously, it is a city that I also appreciate very much for its fashion, its restaurants, its lifestyle. I feel at ease, also because my Italian is improving.”