Ruben Loftus-Cheek has revealed that he is ‘honoured’ to have joined AC Milan, also admitting that Ricardo Kaka was one of his idols growing up.
It was confirmed last week that Loftus-Cheek has signed a contract which will run until June 2027 and earlier today the full unveiling came along with the announcement of the shirt number that he has chosen.
Loftus-Cheek spoke to Milan TV in his first official interview for the club, and he began by explaining what it means to become a Milan player.
“It’s a special feeling for me, it’s a new chapter. I was at Chelsea for 20 years of my life, this is a special time for me to finally break away from the club, start a new chapter in my life and for it to be at AC Milan is incredible,” he said.
“To have the opportunity to play here at San Siro, this huge club, with the history it has, the legends that have played for the club, it’s an honour to put on this shirt. Especially when Fikayo Tomori came here.”
Tomori is a player that Loftus-Cheek knows well given that they both came through the Cobham academy together, along with Tammy Abraham who is now one of Roma’s key men.
“I think he [Tomori] is a great example of someone who tried a new challenge away from England and has been very successful, and for him to win the title with Milan and the success he’s already had with the club has just inspired me to come here as well.
“I played with Fikayo in the academy and it will be good to wear the same shirt as him in the San Siro. I’ve spoken to him a lot over the last month – couple months even – especially when things came out in the press and he was asking me if I was coming.
“At times I couldn’t say too much to him, but when things started getting serious I started asking him about the club. Just normal stuff like where he lives, where the players live, where the training ground is, just questions like that.
“He said ‘if you come you’ll feel how big the club is, and the history of the club and what it means to play for AC Milan’. And I was always tempted to come.”
The 27-year-old already has a taste of what the San Siro atmosphere is like given that Chelsea faced off against Milan twice in the Champions League group stages last season.
“When we played Milan in the Champions League, I felt what it was like to play at San Siro and even though we were against Milan you could feel the atmosphere in the stadium and it was amazing,” Loftus-Cheek added.
“I loved to watch Kaka play, purely because he was an incredible runner with the ball and that’s one of my strengths is when I can open up and run with the ball, and Kaka was one of the best at that.”
The Englishman was asked about what it will be like to play with Rafael Leao rather than against him, given his status as one of the best wingers in the world.
“We shook hands at the end of the game a couple of times. The level he’s producing at the moment is top, world class. He can only go on to get even better and better, and he looks like he has the attitude to do that.
“He messaged me a couple of weeks back as well, so it’ll be good to properly meet him and share the pitch with him.”
One of the talking points about Loftus-Cheek before and since his arrival is what his best role might be, and he answered the question directly.
“I’m accustomed to a lot of positions, different formations required me to play different positions and I’ve been comfortable with that.
“I feel like my best – where I can impact a game the most – is in the midfield, in a box-to-box position where I can get up and score goals and get back and defend, and bring my physicality in.
“The Premier League is very intense, very physical. From what I’ve seen in Serie A, it looks like a lot of tactics, a lot of chess, but I’ll have to see and actually feel what it’s like to play in the games. I’ve had Italian coaches who are very tactical, that’s my experience.”
We spoke to The Athletic’s Chelsea writer Simon Johnson about what kind of a character Loftus-Cheek is and his laid-back nature was the main takeaway, something the player himself admitted.
“I’m a pretty relaxed character, easy going, passionate. Outside of football I like to relax with friends, I play a lot of tennis in my spare time, it’s a hobby of mine. I like to stay active when I can. I just love playing football and that’s it.”
Finally, he signed off with a message for the Milan fans watching.
“Hi guys, I’m honoured to be at this club. I can’t wait to put the shirt on and play my first game in front of you all. Thank you for all the support I’ve been getting and I can’t wait to see you all soon.”