Sacchi names the three players Milan should regret letting leave and explains why

By Oliver Fisher -

Former head coach Arrigo Sacchi has taken a look back at some of the players that AC Milan let go of that they might now feel a hint of regret about.

This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport has an interview with Sacchi, who went through the players Milan had who are now shining elsewhere.

He started with Brahim Diaz, who expressed his gratitude to Milan after scoring the winner against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night after he spent three seasons at the club on loan before returning to the Spanish capital.

Sacchi also spoke about Charles De Ketelaere, who had a difficult first season with Milan after his big-money arrival from Club Brugge in the summer, heading to Atalanta on loan where he has hit double digits in goals already.

Then, he mentioned the two players who left on free transfers a year apart: Franck Kessie who went to Barcelona and then Hakan Calhanoglu who joined city rivals Inter.

“The wonder of Brahim Diaz with the Real Madrid shirt in the Champions League, the constant growth of Charles De Ketelaere with Atalanta, the increasingly decisive role of Calhanoglu in league leaders Inter,” he said.

“There are three reasons for regret for Milan, there is no doubt about that, because they were Rossoneri players who, for one reason or another, left. To these, if desired, we could also add Kessie, who has just won the Africa Cup of Nations, and Paquetà, who plays permanently for Brazil.

“The last two elements mentioned, however, in my opinion do not belong to the large category. Kessie has a lot of strength, a lot of determination, he was useful to Milan in the title season, but he doesn’t seem like a phenomenon to me and at Barcelona, ​​where he wanted to go at all costs, he doesn’t seem to have enchanted me.

“On Diaz the matter is quite simple. If Real Madrid loan you a player and see that he is improving and that he can be useful to them, it is logical that they take him back. Ancelotti explained to me that he has grown a lot in Italy, also from a physical point of view: it means that at Milan they worked well on him.

“The reasoning to be made about De Ketelaere is different. He is playing very well for Atalanta, after a difficult season with the Rossoneri. This means that Maldini was right: he wanted him at all costs and considered him a potential champion.

“The fact is that you need to be patient with foreigners, and instead we Italians always demand the best without giving them time to integrate.

“Finally, Calhanoglu has a real regret, perhaps the biggest: he is proving to be a director of the highest level. At Milan he played as an attacking midfielder, at Inter he plays the playmaker and is at the centre of the build-up.

“He has personality, vision of the game and a precise and powerful shot. Yes, for Milan he is to be included in the list of regrets.”


Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi


  1. CdK still one hit wonder like Piatek. We must see him improve or not next season. Kessie?? Maldini already ask the management and the answer its no for pay rise. Thats simple

    1. Exactly! His release was the best transfer of that window. Wrong attitude, below-par performances.

      Don’t care how he does now; all I know is such personalities does not belong here, but suit Inter very well.

    2. at that time every milan coach wrongly trying to deploy him as attacking midfielder behind forward. like sacchi said he not attacking midfielder. and tbh its inzaghi who rediscover him as regista last season when brozovic was injured. he played good with conte but its inzaghi who make him world class regista.

    1. tonali only played few matches with newscastle befored he got banned from betting. its still too early to judge him on newscastle.

    2. Sacchi has too much time on his hands, every club has players that leave and become big stars…

      Milan have seen Giovani Elber, Auba, David’s, Kluvert, Roberto Ayala….the list goes on, should we mourn them too

      I thought Sacchi had too much intelligence to spout such nonsense

  2. I was happy/ok with their departures. Well except for Paqueta and even for him I’m not getting sad. These guys are not Thiago Silva Pirlo Zlatan and a few others who were great before leaving and after

  3. Legend Sacchi spoke the truth.
    Milan is still feeling the impact of the void left by Kessie. His strength and Stamina is no match to all our current crop of midfielders combined. Pioli is mediocre, Talents retrogress under him. ( paqueta, Diaz,CDK, hakan et al) all struggled under his mediocre guide.

  4. Here we go again with this.
    Diaz was never our player, if there is anything to regret is to have spent 3 seasons preparing a player for Real Madrid. He was never stellar with us anyways.
    We won a scudetto IMMEDIATELY after letting Hakan go. If anything that proves that we probably done better without him. He’s obviously doing better now in inter.. in 3-5-2, which we don’t play, in a position that doesn’t exist in our system.
    De Ketelare is a bit more tricky. I feel like judging a player from his first season is always wrong, some players just don’t adapt that quickly, especially young, foreign players and his performances with Atalanta prove that it was more about this than him being bad. With that said, he is not a true AM and we brought him essentially as that. In Atalanta he plays up front in a 3-4-3. Coupling with the fact that he deals with less pressure there, maybe he was never meant for us. If anything, considering our low budget that summer (50M), spending 70% on a single player was a huge gamble that didn’t pay off.
    Paqueta is a player that I feel could have succeeded and in fact, had he remained with us, maybe we could have gone for a true defensive midfielder instead of yet another central/offensive midfielder. With that said, we got decent money out of him, and we did win the scudetto AFTER he was gone.
    Finally, Kessie and yes not only I regret this one, but we also crumbled since he was gone and we never attempted to replace him properly. I feel that his case was a huge blunder from us, because when he was asking for 5M a year we declined, and yet at some point we proposed him 5M a year but by then his demands have gone up. So the question is: why not have meet this first demand from the get go ?

    1. Nice work, I like the way you looked at the situation from such positive light,the glass should always be half full and not half empty.

  5. Sometimes it is good for a player to move on to discover himself instead of wither away. Ultimately its about their career and growth path…Hakan’s soul has long left his body during his time at Milan, he used the contract saga as an excuse to make his move. His 1st words at Inter was that he enjoys being around better players which is maybe his way of saying that he did not enjoy the red side of town. Good for him if the Inter move allowed him to get his groove back but Milan should not have any regrets about letting him go. Same applies to CDK. Kessie wanted to leave, there was nothing to be done about that and yes maybe we could have tried harder for Diaz. These are sliding door moments, some work, some don’t…it is what it is…

  6. I think the only regret here is kessie. After hakan and all left we still progress to win the scudetto and play well. But once kessie left we have not really played deep dm, we have not find his replacement and we could feel his absent. For me I regret only for kessie. At some point I blame maldini for all the negotiations, kessie asking was 5m and they rejected and but later propose 5m to him but then kessie demand has gone up. Maldini strategy for negotiation is tragedy.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.