Former AC Milan man Riccardo Montolivo has revealed some interesting stories about the end of his career with the Rossoneri.
The midfielder announced his retirement in Wednesday’s edition of il Corriere dello Sport, bringing to an end a 16-year playing career across spells at Atalanta, Fiorentina and of course Milan.
Montolivo joined on a free transfer back in 2012 when his contract with Fiorentina expired, signing a four-year deal and drawing huge praise from then head coach Max Allegri.
However, he failed to kick on from his time at La Viola and quickly became a divisive figure among the fan base, despite being given the captain’s armband in 2013.
He was even completely frozen out of the senior squad under Gennaro Gattuso last season in what was a sad end to his career at Milan.
Since then, the 34-year-old has been unable to find another club and has retired as a consequence, revealing all in an interview with il Corriere dello Sport.
“Gattuso never explained the exclusion to me. Now that’s enough, but don’t say that I refused to move,” he said (via MilanNews.it).
“Montella and Mirabelli, after Bonucci’s arrival, told me that I should have given him the captain’s armband.
“I replied that it didn’t seem like a good idea, because Milan was a great club, others had delicate balances, others comrades like Bonaventura would have played that role better and in any case the decision had to be taken.
“They replied that there was no discussion, it was the choice of the then president Yonghong Li.
“I stayed for different reasons. At the end of July, after not being called up for the tour [of America], a handful of days were left in the mercato, which closed that summer in Ferragosto.
“I was never told why [I was not included]. Milan Lab’s data confirmed my excellent condition, so obviously this was not the problem. The decision was communicated to me by the team manager, with a text message the day before departure.
“I also talked about it with Leonardo and Maldini, everyone told me that I had become the third choice, that I had to understand. Then, after the Milan-Fiorentina episode, it seemed clear to me that I was no longer the third choice.
“On December 22, 2018 against Fiorentina, Gattuso preferred to use a fullback rather than let me play [in midfield]. At that point seemed obvious to me that the problem was not me, and that the answers to my questions would never come.
“It was impossible since I was never allowed to train with the group until mid-November. To justify my call, then, Gattuso referred to the unavailability of Brescianini and Torrasi, two Primavera players. He almost had to apologise.
“What happened when I arrived at training? I was invited to train, often alone, sometimes with Halilovic, or with the Primavera.
“Then in January a trickle of rumours had started. I was fine, but someone started not to believe it: as if they didn’t want to contradict Milan and bet on me. However it is clear: I have never refused a transfer.”
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) November 13, 2019