Shakhtar director believes De Zerbi would help Milan star ‘explode’

By Oliver Fisher -

Carlo Nicolini believes that Roberto De Zerbi is the right man for AC Milan if they want to get the best out of Rafael Leao, having worked with the Brighton boss at Shakhtar Donetsk.

De Zerbi has been linked with the Milan job in recent weeks as Brighton have struggled in the second half of the current season. Since the start of January, they have won just four games in the league although they did emerge victorious against high-flying Aston Villa at the weekend.

Speaking to MilanNews, Shakhtar sporting director Nicolini commented on the idea that De Zerbi could return to the club that he spent time at as a young player and in particular the idea that it could help get the best out of some players currently in the squad.

“I saw what De Zerbi did. So, let’s take an example with our wingers, I believe he could be the right coach to really make Leao explode due to the potential he has, which in my opinion he hasn’t expressed to the maximum still, to name one as an example.

“Then obviously it will be the club with De Zerbi who talk about these things here, whether they need other players or not.

“Certainly, the Milan squad, the Milan style of play, the Milan DNA, are very similar, from my point of view, to the philosophy that De Zerbi has.

“So, for this reason I consider him a coach who has the characteristics to coach Milan, and on whom Milan would do well to focus compared to other names who, despite being great coaches, have characteristics that aren’t typical of Milan.

“Also, because it’s not certain that the strongest will do well in certain conditions, because the strongest is the strongest with certain situations and circumstances.”

He then also went on to speak about what De Zerbi could have helped build at Shakhtar had he hung around.

“With De Zerbi, an important project had been created at Shakhtar. Work had begun which we thought would lead us to be among the best, by that I mean the few best, in Europe.

“Unfortunately, we will never have proof of this, a dream was broken. We continue to work. We hope that Roberto will reach the top that we thought he could reach with another team.”

While waiting to see if De Zerbi will stay with the Premier League club beyond this season it has also emerged that Milan are interested in Porto’s Sergio Conceicao who looks set to leave the Portuguese side.

Tags AC Milan Carlo Nicolini Rafael Leao Roberto De Zerbi


  1. That’s more or less similar to what management perceived on Lopetegui at first, but let’s see about De Zerbi if he’s signed.

  2. Join us, Mr De Zerbi, please. 🇮🇹
    Then it’s just down to uncle Sam to get own house in order – something we’re yet to see……

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