AC Milan defender Simon Kjaer has expressed his delight at putting pen to paper on a contract extension which will see him remain at the club until at least 2024.
There had been persistent rumours over the past couple of weeks stating that Kjaer is closing in on extending his deal with the Rossoneri, which was set to expire in June 2022, and now the club have confirmed that he has extended his stay by two years until 2024.
Kjaer spoke to CBS Sports about his renewal and about his time at Milan so far.
“I am very happy. It is a big signal from the club that they are also pleased with my work and our progress. My family and I are delighted in Milan. I am very content with the team. We are in a good place. I said when I arrived that I would like to finish my career here. This was a big step. We will see in a few years’ time. I am very, very happy with the new deal,” he said.
“I was speaking with my agent the other day when we submitted the contract and I said that if I could have written my career and played for Milan the entire time, then maybe, maybe I would change it, Kjaer said.
“With this new deal, I will have been here for four-and-a-half years. Who knows, maybe longer. With all the experience from the other countries’ cultures, I would not change that for anything, but I am very, very happy right now. It is an honor and a big privilege for me.”
Kjaer knows that he has set the standard for himself in many ways and he will need to keep up his level of performances with Alessio Romagnoli and Matteo Gabbia behind him in the pecking order.
“Nothing is handed to you. What you put in, you get back. It is also a reflection of our progress as a team as well as my individual level. I take these two additional years as a major compliment. The club also knows that I will not lean back and relax. They know my mentality.
“I love Milan. It has everything. We are close to the mountains and to the sea. The airports make it very international for my wife, the kids and me. I love Italian culture. Absolutely the best place that I have been. We have everything that we need. I am at the club of my dreams, so how could I complain about anything? I am so grateful to be here.”
The Rossoneri face Roma tonight in what is a big litmus test as the club’s title ambitions continue to be put to the test week after week, but Kjaer believes the team are in a better place now.
“We progressed since last year. I think we were also first at the end of December then. So far, 28 points from 30 is a lot and it has been a very good start. I think we have grown as a team. Games we drew last year we are winning, and we are also winning when we have not played so well.
“We have been difficult to beat, and we have shown maturity in that which is a big step. With last summer’s signing, we have grown and added quality to the squad. Of course, we are fighting for the title now, but I also said at the start of the season that we needed to better second place last year. That only leaves one place to go.
“Napoli are looking very, very strong. They are very dynamic, and they play very good football. I think that it is still early in the season because there are so many things that can impact an entire season. You have Corona and injuries – two, or three bad ones and you can lose six or seven crucial games.
“I think that there are so many teams, especially this year, which are around the same level. It is a little bit about the circumstances we discussed earlier but it is amazing. It keeps you on your toes every game to be competitive all the time. Small details can make the difference. It is exciting for people on the outside but also for us to be part of such a season.”
Kjaer also offered his thoughts on Rafael Leao, with the winger having had an excellent start to the season, amassing four goals in the league and one in the Champions League.
“Rafa has so much quality and potential that I think we have seen him grow a lot this season. He needs to improve even more and be decisive for the team in every game, but I think that he has improved, and it seems like his head is in a better place.
“We try to help to push him, but it is up to Rafa at the end of the day. He has some qualities that we have not often seen. If he can be more consistent than he already has been, he will be a great future figure for me.”