Midfielder Franck Kessie has claimed that he has never considered leaving AC Milan, and that he considers the Rossoneri shirt ‘a second skin’.
It has been quite an impressive few months for Kessie, who seemed very sellable during the last January window but has now established himself as one of the most reliable performers in Stefano Pioli’s side.
Consequently, there have been reported from outlets such as Calciomercato.com claiming that the management are keen on avoiding another race against time by resolving Kessie’s future soon and tying him down to a new contract.
Kessie spoke to the BBC about the moment he is currently experiencing, including targets for the season and the speculation that was circling surrounding his future.
“We don’t set ourselves any limits. We are on the right path and we have to carry on working like this,” he said.
“We have great enthusiasm and high spirit: we want to keep it and nourish it even more until the end of the season.”
When asked about the idea that he could have left Milan, Kessie responded emphatically.
“I have never even thought of leaving the club and no one here asked me to do so. Wearing this shirt, which is like a second skin to me, is a source of pride for me and my family.”
Kessie was also probed about why Milan have been able to go on such a fantastic recent run, which has included a stretch of 21 games without defeat across all competitions and 17 wins in that.
“The gaffer knows how to manage the group – and we all feel important parts of the project.
“He told me what he expected from me. At the beginning it wasn’t easy, but then I understood his requests and I could translate them onto the pitch.
“Our fans’ affection is incredible. Thousands of them drove along our bus on their mopeds to the stadium ahead of the derby. That was a true demonstration of love and gave us that extra energy and motivation.”
Kessie may only be 23 years of age, but he is a vocal leader out on the pitch having been at San Siro for over three years now.
“I am already a veteran of the squad and I need to lead by example,” he said.
“Wearing this shirt is an honour as well as a responsibility. We represent millions of fans around the world and we all work hard every day to bring AC Milan back where it belongs.”
Kessie plays alongside Algeria’s Ismael Bennacer in an all-African defensive midfield duo, continuing a heritage established by the likes of George Weah.
“Everyone knows our club in Africa,” adds Kessie.
“The first African player to win the Ballon d’Or was George Weah (in 1995) with AC Milan and as a consequence many fans were drawn closer to the Rossoneri colours.”