Kessie talks leadership role, Bennacer partnership and Milan renewal in revealing interview

By Isak Möller -

Franck Kessie has been one of the best Milan players this season, having played almost every game from start to finish, and his starting spot is undisputed. Certainly, it’s hard to imagine the Rossoneri without him. 

As a result of the many penalties Milan have received this season, the Ivorian has ten league goals to his name (two from open play). He also has five assists and is the motor of the Rossoneri midfield, helping out in both phases of the game.

In a long interview with SportWeek (via MilanNews), the weekly edition of Gazzetta Dello Sport, Kessie spoke about the past and the relationship with his teammates. He also revealed the love for ‘his’ Milan, a team he has always cheered for.

“Yes, as a child, I cheered for Milan and was crazy about Shevchenko. Milan was also my team on the Playstation. It was easy to cheer for them: in those days they won everything. When I wore the Rossoneri shirt for the first time, I didn’t believe it.

“I thought I should have sweated more for that shirt, because I was also a fan of Milan. That’s what I try to do every game. Playing the Champions League with Milan would be great.”

On his leadership…

“If I have something to say to a teammate I don’t do it in front of everyone because I don’t know how he can react. I take him aside and explain to him. In a match, it’s more difficult, so it can happen that I say: ‘Come on, let’s run, we have to win!’.

“In the youth teams of my national team, the Ivory Coast, I have always been the captain. I talk to everyone, starting with the youngest: Hauge, Daniel Maldini… Even with those of the Primavera who sometimes train with us, like Mionic. ”

On the feeling with Bennacer…

“We both speak French. It also happens with the others that I express myself in the same language: only afterwards it occurs to me that they do not understand me. Then I try to find the corresponding word in Italian, but now the opponent has already moved… In the locker room, the older ones speak the most, Ibra and Kjaer. They and the captain, Romagnoli.”

On the link with Calhanoglu…

“We arrived together in the same summer four years ago. I go to his house, he comes to me. We resemble each other in character. When we have the day off we are almost always together: we went to restaurants when we could, shopping at the Duomo… But I also go to Bennacer, Meite, Leao, Saelemaekers…”

On Leao…

“I talk to him. He has almost everything. He is very strong, he has quality, dribbles, sometimes he scores. I tell him to stay focused, to always maintain the same level of attention in the game.”

On the contract expiring in 2022…

“Now I’m focused on the work that we have to finish and that must bring us to the Champions League. At the end of the season, we will speak with the club.”

On the relationship with Pioli…

“When a new coach arrives, he brings his ideas and asks you for new things compared to before. It is normal that you struggle at first. But we talked and talked, I worked hard on myself to understand how to give him what he wanted. And in the end, I succeeded. ”

On Milan…

“To return to being one of the greats, Milan lack continuity in results. The great teams are never satisfied, they want to win all the games. This must be our mentality. We know that it’s not possible to win always, but we must try. But we are already a great team “.

The Rossoneri will take on Lazio on Monday evening and they need a win to keep a good spot in the Champions League race. As it’s so tight, they could drop down several positions with a loss at Stadio Olimpico.

READ MORE: ‘Donnarumma, the Juve plan’, ‘Ultimatum for 4’ – Today’s front pages of Italian papers

Tags AC Milan Franck Kessie