Sky have sent journalist Peppe Di Stefano out to the United States to cover AC Milan’s preseason tour, and he provided some interesting insight last night.
Milan’s preparations ahead of the new season have dialled up a notch with the team out in the USA for Soccer Champions Tour games against Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, the first of which ended in a 3-2 defeat in the early hours of Monday morning.
One of the positives from that though was that the returning internationals such as Rafael Leao, Theo Hernandez, Olivier Giroud and Malick Thiaw – who have only had a few days in training – looked sharp and on another day it could have been a 3-2 win for the Rossoneri.
Di Stefano spoke on a segment for Sky about the feelings after the friendly against Real Madrid, Noah Okafor’s first few hours and some individuals too, with Radio Rossonera relaying his comments.
“In the meantime, Milan are enjoying the first few hours of Okafor, who has arrived here in downtown Los Angeles, where the Milan hotel is,” he said.
“Juventus, on the other hand, are located in Santa Monica, 30km from Los Angeles. But let’s talk about the Rossoneri. The Swiss has arrived and, even if it feels strange to say it, there is satisfaction despite the defeat.
Di Stefano continued by revealing some off-camera discussions that took place.
“Today it was said, even off microphones where the top management of the club including Giorgio Furlani were present, that in the pre-season it is better to lose a game by playing well and with clear ideas, as Milan did yesterday, rather than winning them badly as happened sometimes in the past.
“Yesterday Milan changed skin and game system. Stefano Pioli yesterday made it clear that he will play with four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards: we will see how they are arranged later in the season.”
Finally, Di Stefano spoke about an interview that would be aired featuring Rafael Leao, which has since been released and you can read it in full here.
“The sensations are good and especially from the new recruits. Christian Pulisic continues to impress. Not only for his fame here in America, but for his quality, he showed changes of pace and play, a player who for me lacked those characteristics at Milan,” he said.
“Loftus-Cheek physically has plenty, even if he’s still a bit in trouble due to his size. He can make a difference. But he is a Milan that is starting to take shape and become a team. And then Stefano Pioli begins to embrace some new players.
“Among other things, I’ll tell you and remind you that since half past midnight we’ve had an interview with one of the big names, one of the most important players in this Milan, but I won’t spoil anything for you.
“Tomorrow, at 12, it will be available in its full version. There are many interesting ideas and discussions. Who is it? Rafael Leao! The first after his contract renewal.”