Theo Hernandez has lifted the lid on the process that saw him join AC Milan from Real Madrid just over a year ago.
The Frenchman has established himself as one of the best left-backs in the league despite arriving as a relative unknown for a fee widely reported to be around €20m.
He took the starting spot from Ricardo Rodriguez and never looked back, amassing a combined 10 goals and assists (7G, 3A) in all competitions.
Paolo Maldini has been given credit for his personal efforts in bringing the 22-year-old to the San Siro, something the player himself acknowledged.
Theo gave an interview to The Athletic in an article which documents Milan’s meticulous way of going about getting back among Europe’s elite, and he discussed how he came to join Milan.
“One day Maldini called me and said he wanted to talk to me. We were in Ibiza and the conversation we had when he said he wanted to sign me was incredible. He showed faith in me and he convinced that this could be my home,” he said.
“I knew Maldini was a legend and a real great. He gave me a lot of advice during that meeting and even now he still tells me things to improve and how I can become more complete as a left-back. Getting advice from someone like Maldini is incredible.
“It was easy for me, it’s the 2nd club with the most Champions League trophies. I didn’t have to think very long. I talked to my family and my agents. When I heard of the interest, I instinctively understood that it was a great place to advance my career.”
Theo got his first assist of the season on Monday night, whipping in a perfect cross for Ibrahimovic to head home.
On his relationship with the Swede, he added: “Many of us are quite young and he knows how to guide and encourage us. He supports and helps us. In training and in matches, he still does things that are truly incredible.”
“We made some good signings recently. Last season we started really badly and we finished very well. This season, we have to start well and finish well.”
On his debut in the derby: “My first appearance in the derby was incredible. Here, the matches are felt more than in Spain. People are closer to the team.”