Kjaer discusses Hall of Fame award, Eriksen incident, Scudetto dream and working with Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan defender Simon Kjaer has received the ‘Italian Football Hall of Fame’ award dedicated to Davide Astori for saving the life of his national team mate Christian Eriksen, it has been confirmed.

Kjaer received the award for his heroic actions during the game between Denmark and Finland at the European Championships last summer, and he reacted to the news on the FIGC website with a word about the man the award is dedicated to.

“I remember Davide very well on the pitch and obviously I also remember his tragic end well,” he said.

“Both Pioli and my team-mates told me about him, I know that his death was shocking for all of Italy and for the whole world of football. It is a tragedy that still makes us sad, and that will do so forever. Receiving the award dedicated to Davide means a lot, it makes me happy and proud.”

Kjaer spoke about the afternoon of June 12, when the whole world of football was stunned as Eriksen dropped to the floor.

“Some things and some moments of that day will stay with me forever. The main thing, however, is that now Christian is fine, that he is back with his family and on the pitch, and that he has resumed doing the thing he loves most, which is playing football.

“In those terrible moments we behaved like a real team, each of us did our best to help a teammate and a friend of ours. I must admit, however, that I have closed that chapter, and not even too much desire to talk about it again.

“What happened that day in Copenhagen is the result of the joint effort of players, doctors, paramedics and staff. At that moment, all of us were there for Christian.

“When I was running towards Christian I had no idea, just like any of my team-mates, that he had had an arrest cardiac. The only thing I thought about was to reach him as quickly as possible and help him. I have learned that this is the most important thing.

“If you see something strange you have to act, and you have to do it quickly. In first aid, speed is crucial. Do what you can do, and do it fast, and then let a professional do it as soon as possible. That day we were lucky, because doctors and paramedics were really close.”

Kjaer was no stranger to Italy when he arrived at AC Milan having played for Palermo, Roma and Atalanta, but he has once again stressed the idea that he feels at home with the Rossoneri and with life in the country.

“In Serie A I feel at home. I enjoyed playing in LaLiga with Sevilla, but when I had the chance to return to Italy I didn’t think twice. And now, I say it with my heart: I am very happy to be at Milan. Sometimes dreams come true: I remember that many years ago, when I was still playing in Palermo, I told my agent that I would have loved to play at Milan. And now here I am.

“I like Serie A, as well as many other things in Italy, which for me is now a second home. Food, culture, nature, people, and of course football as well. The Italian one has always been close to my philosophy, which is that of team play. We are all individuals, but we all work together as a group. Teamwork represents the tactical DNA of Serie A, we saw it last summer at the European Championships.

“I let myself be inspired by all the people I met along my path and, if we talk about coaches, right now I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Stefano Pioli in my club and Kasper Hjulmand in the national team.

“I have a great relationship with both of them, they are great technicians and great people, I try to learn from them every day and in every way. There are many figures who have been able to inspire me and I would also like to remember the technicians and people close to me during my youth in Denmark.

“They taught me the most important thing of all: that you always have to want to learn, grow and push yourself in all possible ways. In high-level football, the challenge is always with yourself. I always try to think that today I want to be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow I want to be better than today.

“You always have to raise the bar, push yourself to the limit, keep hunger and desire, and put all your passion into trying to improve. In professional football, training is the key. The more and better you train, the more you will be able to improve and the better you will play on the pitch.

“I was told when I was 15-16 and believe me it’s the truth. Commitment to training is the real secret. I still have many dreams and goals, but the greatest of all is to win Scudetto with Milan.”

Tags AC Milan Simon Kjaer
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