Pioli discusses Donnarumma exit and names seven key players: “Confirmation is difficult”

By Isak Möller -

The 2020/21 season was very successful for Milan, not only securing their Champions League return but also finishing in second place. Stefano Pioli deserves a lot of credit, but now the toughest part of his tenure will begin. 

Along with the management, the former Fiorentina boss now has to build a strong team that can compete with the best in the Champions League. Furthermore, it shouldn’t be unrealistic to at least aim for the Scudetto.

In a long interview with La Repubblica, Pioli spoke about this past season and what it will be like for the club to play in the Champions League again. He also commented on his alleged renewal, stating that it’s certainly not a priority.

On his renewal…

“It’s not a priority. With Maldini and Massara, we will talk above all about how to improve the team. I feel lucky to work in this club and with this group.”

Champions League return…

“A sleeping beauty will wake up in her home: in the midst of the biggest clubs. Before Atalanta, I asked the boys: do you still want to play against Rio Ave or is it City, PSG or Bayern now? It’s a bit strange that the Italian vice-champions are placed in the fourth pot. But we want to grow: facing the strongest helps, it will have to be the year of our confirmation.”

Reinforcing the team…

“My directors have already shown creativity. Apart from Ibra, on whom I had obviously expressed a positive opinion, I’m thinking about Kjaer and Saelemaekers, and even Tomori. Whatever the budget, the name Milan continues to be a reminder. The important thing is to have built a base of 10-12 players worthy of a top team, such as Hernandez, Tomori, Kjaer, Kessie, Calabria, Calha, Ibra. Now we have to improve the squad: confirmation is the most difficult thing.”

Donnarumma’s departure…

“He’s an exemplary professional, focused on the pitch. Then a negotiation can work or not. We have spoken and thanked each other, it’s a sincere relationship. I wished him well for the Euros.”

Kessie the new leader?

“We have more than one, so is Kjaer. Franck is the reference point for his teammates in difficulties. He dances and he doesn’t seem to care, then he’s an example for everyone.”

It’s safe to say that this summer could be very exciting for the Rossoneri fans, seeing as the directors will have a bigger budget to work with this time out. Reinforcements are indeed warranted as well.

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Tags AC Milan Champions League Stefano Pioli