Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be the frontman, the undisputed leader, but the Swede isn’t the only reference point – on and off the pitch – at Milan. Simon Kjaer, in fact, is also one of the essential figures in the squad.
The Danish international arrived at the club back in January, on loan from Sevilla, and managed to establish himself quickly. The Rossoneri had to pay just €3.5m to lock him down this summer, which was certainly a bargain deal.
Kjaer is one of the pillars of Stefano Pioli’s team, leading the team from the back with his presence and intelligence. In a long interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport, as cited by MilanNews.it, the 31-year-old opened up about the current situation.
“My story speaks clearly, I need to feel confidence: I have always repaid the managers that have given me continuity.
“Pioli? When I have doubts, or I think there are tactical aspects that can be changed to improve individual and collective performance, he listens to me. He wants to find the ideal situation for his players. In the end, of course, he decides but there is dialogue. He is the perfect coach for me.”
“If I’m a leader? Yes, on the pitch and in training. I observe others and help. I always try to lead by example, I make myself heard. And I try to convey a message to the youngest, because over the years I have learned that we must never be satisfied. Now we are first but we cannot rest on the satisfaction of the moment, we must work to grow further.
“Maldini and Massara brought me to Milan to have a voice in the dressing room and to help out with the younger players. I arrived at a complicated moment, but despite the criticisms that fell on the players I knew that there was quality here.
“Now we are the opposite: the results arrive, there is enthusiasm. But let’s remember that it doesn’t take long to go back.
“The strength of this Milan is to know how to suffer by helping each other. With the team spirit, we go far. We take advantage of the experience accumulated in the last six months, it has made us mature a lot.
“We are now only young on the team sheet, because we have shown that we are a great team, reaching a very high level. Let’s try to bring Milan back to where it belongs.”
The defender was also asked about the possibility of winning the Scudetto, seeing as they are currently first in the standings. He played it down a bit, as you would expect, but also assured that they have a duty to believe.
“We are in the lead, so of course, we can win. The season is still long, we need to continue to live match after match as we are doing. The Scudetto must not become an obsession. It must be a goal because we are Milan and history is made up of titles.
“After so many years away from the top we are there, we will do our best to return to the Champions League and we will try to fight for the league, it’s our duty to believe in it,” he concluded.