Alexis Saelemaekers believes that he has proven who he is having arrived at AC Milan as a name that not many people knew.
As an attacking winger (right or left), rather than as a full-back, Saelemaekers convinced everyone with his dedication, work-rate and spirit to always do better. At the start of July, despite the lockdown, Milan redeemed the Belgian for €3.5m (€7m in total).
An absolutely reasonable figure for a functional player, who fits the project of Elliott Management perfectly. In other words, the faith was already there and the 21-year-old has proved them right thus far.
Saelemaekers spoke to La Dernière Heure about the current moment and reflected on his first year in Italy.
“Yes, no one knew me at the beginning. I’m glad I proved who I am. I’m living a dream here at Milan, I always give my best so that sometimes I have to take a little rest,” he said (via MilanLive).
On the nickname Salamandra: “They chose it at the beginning because my name is difficult to pronounce. But they were right, because I’m a Salamander: I run everywhere and I’m not easy to catch…”
On his relationship with Stefano Pioli: “I feel a lot of confidence on his part, we talk often. Scudetto? We aim to do our best.”
On who his role model is: “Easy, I have him in front of me every day: Ibrahimovic. At 39 he trains every day, always gives his best and wins games alone. In training he is sometimes a bit ‘offensive’, he screams a lot but if he does it it is for a reason; you must shut up and listen to it. He is a legend, he knows what he does.”
Calciomercato.com reported earlier today that the Rossoneri could look to Anderlecht once again for their next midfield reinforcement one year after the surprise signing of Saelemaekers.
They claim that directors Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are following Albert Sambi Lokonga, a 21-year-old central midfielder who has been compared to Sergio Busquets, with Saelemaekers having personally recommended him to Stefano Pioli.
“I pulled out his name a few times. It would be fantastic to have him here, he has all the skills to play in a club like this,” Saelemaekers confirmed.
Finally, on whether Anderlecht might regret having sold him so cheaply: “Last year they were happy because they had received a good sum for a reserve, now maybe there is a bit of regret but I know they are happy for me.”