Kjaer discusses Kalulu’s rise, Leao, Tonali, the Scudetto and being a ‘hermit’ while recovering

By Oliver Fisher -

During the friendly win over Marseille in France, Simon Kjaer finally got some minutes in his legs after spending over 240 days out through injury.

Eight months after the serious knee ligament injury he suffered against Genoa, Kjaer got his first taste of proper game time as he played for a few minutes to close out the game against Marseille, and he did so with a smile on his face.

Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu might be the starting pairing heading into the season but we must not forget how crucial the Dane has been in the

Kjaer was interviewed for SportWeek – the weekly magazine of La Gazzetta dello Sport – and he spoke about a number of different topics including his recovery from injury, the Scudetto, the season ahead and Pierre Kalulu’s emergence. His comments were relayed by PianetaMilan.

On the injury: “I had never suffered such a serious injury and for the first time in my career I had to face a period in which I would work alone, away from the rest of the squad. My mother told me: pretend to be a hermit, one of those who live in the forest, separated from everything and everyone.

“I felt just like that. Yes, the club was close to me, my team-mates wrote to me encouraging me, but in the end it was me who had to get up at 8 in the morning every day to work until 8pm: therapy, re-education, alone with the physiotherapist. So I said to myself, if I look like a hermit, so be it: I will only cut my beard when I return to work with the team.”

On the scudetto: “We all won it together. We celebrated as champions have to do. I usually keep things inside, but sometimes I am able to get them out.”

On Daniel Maldini: “Daniel Maldini seemed to me to have matured, more ready. I hope he can prove it at Spezia where he went on loan. The club did well because they need to play.

On Leao and Tonali: “They are no longer kids, they have to grow enormously. What they did last year is no longer enough. Leao has extraordinary qualities and therefore cannot afford games in which one sees little: he must always be decisive. If he can make this leap , he can become one of the top five in the world.”

On Origi: “I was with him at Lille, he was a kid, now I expect a champion who makes a difference because he has everything to be one, speed, physique and feet. grow, carving out an important role.”

On Kalulu: “Pierre has had a fantastic season. From my point of view he is not a rival. If I do my job, if I’m fine, there is only one who can decide, Pioli. Then I can get angry with him, but not with Kalulu, Tomori or Gabbia because they are team-mates and one of them will be by my side on the pitch. I will need them, their help, so they can never be rivals. I know that this year I will not play 45 games. there will be opportunities for everyone, but obviously I want to play. When the derby takes place I want to play.”

On Milan not being a favourite for the Scudetto: “The opponents were aggressive on the market. When there were ten games to go, nobody believed in our Scudetto. Now it gets even tougher because everyone wants to beat the Italian champions. But we can still grow. Nobody, here at Milan, has finished doing it yet. Even us old men: if the body starts to collapse, the head has to go faster.”

Tags AC Milan Simon Kjaer
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