Sacchi believes Milan feel regret over Calhanoglu and makes Pirlo comparison

By Oliver Fisher -

Arrigo Sacchi has suggested that AC Milan should feel plenty of regret after they let Hakan Calhanoglu leave and join rivals Inter on a free transfer, where he seems to be flourishing.

There is no love lost between Calhanoglu and the Milan fans given that he left the Rossoneri in the summer of 2021 after they did not renew his contract and decided to join city rivals Inter on a free transfer.

After being runner-up to the Nerazzurri in the Scudetto battle when he was with Milan in 2020-21, he had to watch his former team-mates lift the league title the next season as the Rossoneri got their 19th, but this year he is on course to celebrate given Inter are top.

Sacchi gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport which for some strange reason centred entirely around Calhanoglu and his rebirth at Inter, with some comments offered on Milan and the decision to let him walk.

How do you rate Calhanoglu’s performance?

“He’s doing very well and, above all, he’s doing a lot. You can see it in all areas of the pitch: he runs and makes his team-mates run.”

Milan must be regretting letting him go, considering they don’t have a similar player. Was it a mistake

“Speaking with the benefit of hindsight, one would say yes. But these are situations that often occur in football. I, for example, despite the fact that they had offered him to me when I was a manager, didn’t sign Andrea Pirlo. And then we saw who he then became.

“At Milan Calhanoglu had already shown that he was good. Then, however, he was an attacking midfielder, or at most the left winger. Now it’s a different thing, now he’s a team man.”

What type of player is he?

“I define him with just one adjective: complete. He can cover all roles in midfield, he moves with great intelligence and gets his teammates moving by dictating the timing of almost all actions.

“He knows when to play short and when to , we need to throw long. I repeat: we are faced with a complete and modern footballer in the interpretation of the role.”

Speaking of the role: he too, like Pirlo, went from being a playmaker to becoming a director…

“By changing roles he demonstrated that he is a boy of high intellectual level. He understood what his qualities were and what the team’s needs were. He made himself available and a new Calhanoglu was born.

“It must be said that in Inter’s midfield he is greatly helped by Barella and Mkhitaryan, and a notable contribution is also made by the wingers, especially Dimarco on the left. But Calhanoglu, just like Pirlo did, is demonstrating a remarkable personality. He is the fulcrum of Inter, the one around whom everything revolves.”

His best qualities?

“Definitely his vision of the game. He knows, before the others, where the ball will end up. He knows the rhythm of the match. He is able to decide in a very short time on which side the opponent should attack, whether it is better to stall or accelerate.

“And then He has precision of touch, both long and short, and a great shot. From a penalty kick he is lethal, he almost never makes mistakes. And even on free kicks from the edge of the area he is precise and powerful.”

Is he among the best in Europe at the moment?

“In my opinion, as a regista, he is among the top three. He has made incredible improvements and has shown that success is only achieved when you believe in yourself and work to make a leap in quality.

“He is now one of the best players in Europe and you can also see it in the Champions League matches. He knows how to set up and he knows how to defend. And, above all, he has the personalities to lead the team.”

Is it a difficult role, that of director?

“Probably the most difficult. It is the player who has the score handed over by the coach in his hand and who has to make them ‘play’ by starting the build-up.

“It is a job of responsibility, you are involved in the two phases, both attacking and defensive, and you need to have a global vision of the pitch and the team. Not everyone can be a director, so to speak.”

Give us some examples…

“Pirlo was a great interpreter of this role, as was Xavi in ​​Guardiola’s Barcelona. Even Modric, despite not being a kid anymore, is great. But the Croatian is more of a midfielder than a director.

“I really like Rodri of Manchester City. However, there aren’t many around at the moment. At Napoli last season, Lobotka enchanted me, but it seems to me he has had an involution.”


Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi Hakan Calhanoglu


  1. Absolutely Hakan is a complete midfielder. He proved that even at Milan playing as a winger under Montella, box to box under Gattuso, CAM under Pioli.
    People won’t admit it, but Hakan was Milan’s best player before he left.
    Before some get trigger, d let’s look at some numbers.
    Most call Leao Milan’s best player right now.
    Well, Leao, in 182 games played for Milan, thru 4.5 years, has scored 47 goals and provided 41 assists = 88 goal contributions, as a forward.
    Hakan played 172 games for Milan in 4 years, scored 32 goals, and provided 48 assists = 80 goal contributions as a midfielder.
    Very similar numbers but one of them is a forward, the other midfielder.
    When leao was gifted the mvp in 21/22, he had 11 g & 10 a = 21 goal contributions.
    That same season, first at Inter, Hakan had 7g & 13 a = 20 goal contributions as a box to box midfielder.
    Same numbers.
    If you think numbers lie, let’s look at the eye test from their performances.
    Hakan during his Milan time for a stretch of few games, you watch him and you say to yourself : Wow this guy look like he can be one of the best midfielders in Europe and then for 5, 6 games he would look like one of the worst.
    Does that remind you of someone who currently wears the same number as Hakan did at Milan?
    Marotta stole that man from under someone’s nose for extra 500k a season.
    Certain people forget that when they wanna attack the current management about losing Thuram to inter for extra 1.5 mil a year.
    Thuram was a free agent on a another club and inter already negotiated for him before Milan.
    Hakan was a Milan player that Marotta stole from the previous management for a few extra euros.

      1. Aren’t you the one who for 6 months thru tears have been telling us about the perfect gentleman with great charm Paolo, without whom Milan won’t be able to attract new or keep current players at the club?
        I guess Paolo’s charm didn’t work on Hakan.
        Imagine that you can’t convince your own player to stay at your club instead of going to your biggest rival in the same city for extra 500k a season.
        Not the extra 2.5 mil Kessie got from Barcelona, not the extra 6 mil Gigio got from PSG, nor the extra 6.5 mil a season the indebted gambler Tonali got from Newcastle, nope only 500k.
        His charm works only on his fans.

        1. Wasn’t there a certain Gazidis responsible on the financial aspect? Assisted by Furlani who was seating at the board on Elliott’s behalf?

          1. Ted just a few days you were giving Maldini all the credit for Milan’s financial success now you’re saying the finances are Gazidis? Really cherry picking there aren’t you?

        2. You’re probably a Milan fan for a few months, so I’m sorry to tell you that Calhanoglu was inconsistent af and very criticised. He scored many penalties. He never was a leader, on or off the field. But he was one of the most talented players we had at the time and he went to continue his progression at Inter, where there is no salary cap, becoming the impact player he is today.

          Now you can tell me a Fiat Panda is a Ferrari because statistically they both have four wheels.

          1. Oh wow , the default response when you have been emotionally triggered ” You must be a new fan”.
            If you put your emotions to the side and read my first comment you will find out that I compared Hakan with leao, who people call Milan best player.
            Same numbers, same inconsistent play, same zero leadership, what did I say that you didn’t just agree with without realizing in this response.
            Everything I said you agreed with, but you got triggered because there was a slight shot at your God Paolo.
            Don’t care about emotions , Is it true what was written or not is the only thing that matters.

          2. This is not a vendetta, you are obviously quite young since you think professional football is like your FIFA career mode and obviously a recent fan since you think that Calhanoglu had the same impact while at the club than Leao during the scudetto season, and also because you spit at the biggest bandiera of the club in every comment without anybody mentioning him.

          3. Ha ha 😂.
            From being a Milan fan only for few months now I am a young fan because I couldn’t care less about Paolo being fired.
            Paolo was a great player but his popularity comes from his last name, because his father was also a Milan player and a captain.
            When it comes to biggest bandiera you should look into a guy by the name Franco Baresi.
            The eternal capitano. Captain from age 22 till retirement at 37. Paolo didn’t become Milan Captain until age 29 when the true Captain retired. Stayed with Milan even when they were relegated in a season where he was injured.
            Check who had more success as a Captain between those 2, and Paolo played on a super team in the 2000s.
            Check who was voted Milan AND serie A player of the century. Franco Baresi not Paolo, who btw was 32 when the century ended.
            Maybe you should talk to older Milan fans and ask them about Franco or for those that say that Maldini is Milan greatest player ask them about the man who won 3 Ballon D’ors as a Milan player. Some guy named Marco van Basten.

          4. Bartholomeo Z’s been on here years longer than you. I don’t agree with everything they say but you and the other trolls on here always go straight to insult when they bring facts. You aren’t a better fan because you liked Maldini as a director the most. You aren’t a better fan because you’re against the ownership. You are just a troll on a blog that contributes to nothing but discourse.

          5. Nelli, do you understand how stupid is that conversation? In your eyes I am a troll and you’re teaching me what’s a good fan. In my eyes, you and Z are the trolls.

            Anyway it seems like Z is such an old fan that he got Alzheimer and I was just helping him remember what Calhanoglu was for Milan at the time. Not even close from Leao. And since he brought Maldini in the conversation, also helping him remember who Paolo Maldini was as a player for this club. The fact that you didn’t like Maldini as a director for whatever reason doesn’t diminish his legacy.

    1. Sorry but I don’t agree a whole lot here. Hakan is without a doubt a great midfielder with inter, but it’s also because he works well within their system. He simply didn’t do that well with our 4-2-3-1 that was designed with him in mind.
      He played many roles with many coaches, yes, but his first “good” season was with Pioli.
      Hakan was 23 and in his prime when we brought him, and in his best season with us he had 11 goals and 9 assists in 38 games playing often times as a forward, and in his last season with us he managed 9 goals (5 of which were in Europa League) and 11 assists. Now that’s terrific, not gonna lie, none of our attacking midfielders did manage that, but that’s still shy from Leao’s best seasons (who was green and a deputy to Rebic when coming to Milan). And about the 21/22 season, hakan had 3 goals from penalties and played in a team that is way better than us offensively.
      I don’t know how much we did regret losing him, he won the Scudetto the first season he left with him being replaced by Diaz and Krunic. It’s mostly Kessie whose departure is felt.
      It was surely dumb the way he left, but it’s also a bit on him, and don’t forget he started to have issues at the club. Hakan simply didn’t tolerate Zlatan’s behaviour, who openly criticized him once in a game. I think this detail is often forgot, but look how often these 2 threw jabs at one another.
      Now back to the current Hakan, he is terrific, but he is not an attacking midfielder, he is more like an 8 in a 3-5-2. I feel like we simply didn’t have a good role for him in our 4-2-3-1. And even now, supposedly we brought him back somehow, he might be a better version that Reijnders, but that’s still won’t solve our lack of a true defensive midfielder. But that’s my assessment.

    2. He wasnt stolen from milan, he was already thrown out of the window, and a neighbour who had unexpectedly lost a player picked him and offered him a chance of redemption, the experience of being thrown out forced him to work harder and be better such that he wont be thrown out again

    3. Is your main point that Hakan is a great player or that Maldini didn’t do a good job to not offer 0.5k more? I agree that he’s a great player but just like Kessie, we could have offered more and burst our measly 6m per year cap (which he wasn’t asking for at the time anyway). But that decision is out of Paolo’s hands..he doesn’t control the cap for the wage budget, you’ll need to look at Furlani, Scaroni and Gazidis who has that level of control. They caused us to not have our core in tact. By now we’d be formidable.
      Look at what’s happening now with Mike, they can either raise their offer and keep the team in tact or they can ship and change constantly so we don’t have a core anymore

      1. Nothing is ever Maldini’s fault. Maldini is perfect. Maldini was the greatest director of all time. He gets all of the credit for the Scudetto. None of the blame for letting our best players leave for Free so we couldn’t replace them. None of the blame for all of the flops he brought in the last 2 seasons. You go to bed at night staring at your Maldini poster?
        They could’ve had Kessie if they just gave him what he wanted at the start instead of dragging it out for months with lowball offers which they did with every negotiation until other teams swoop in and offer more. Maldini did some good things, and he also did some bad, and negotiating player deals was not one of his strengths.

        1. We should leave Maldini alone. He did a great job but he was always hard person to work with. His name is very very heavy. But comming to this new managment, they did not compensate the personality void created by his departure, and now Milan looks like it does not know where is going. Also, we are yet to see any positves from the RedBird take over.

    4. Out of all the languages you could’ve spoken, you chose to speak facts. (The most underrated player of recent years, and I said that before he joined Inter)

  2. Miss kessiemore than this guy. Suppose to be a dead ball specialist but couldn’t clear the first man on a corner and I don’t remember a free kick going in. He’s massively overrated

  3. Why is this article here? Its even boring to read, i read just the first part, is this sempreinter or sempremilan??? This place is losing it by day

  4. it’s 50/50 between Maldini which failed to sell him 10m+ & owner (salary cap) which propose him with 1/5m short from salary he asking

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