AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez has revealed the extent of his positive relationship with Paolo Maldini in a long interview with Milan TV.
It was well documented upon his arrival just how much of an impact Maldini had on convincing Theo to try a new challenge in Italy, and since joining from Real Madrid last summer the 23-year-old has become one of the best full-backs in the league and possibly in Europa.
The Frenchman gave an interview to Milan TV about a number of different topics including his relationship with the former Rossoneri captain, his targets for the future and the upcoming derby, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews.
“I had a very good season, now another one has started, just as good and here I am living the best years of my career. Here football is more tactical and physical, in Spain we think more about the possession phase,” he revealed.
“I have adapted very well to the Italian league, I liked it a lot, now I have to keep working. We have a very long season ahead and we hope it will be the best possible.”
On Pioli: “He is a very good coach, since he arrived he has made things clear, he told us what to do. He arrived at a very complicated moment, because the team did not win and the fans were not happy. When he arrived we grew as a team and I grew as a player. He helped me a lot, it’s also thanks to Pioli that I am now what I am.”
On the post-lockdown period: “We worked to win all the games, after the lockdown we never lost, this gives us confidence to continue working like this and try to do even better. This year we feel stronger.
“Last season we didn’t start well, while now we have picked up where we left off. We started well and now we have to continue like this, without relaxing and giving everything, trying to win all the games and moving forward in the Europa League, which is very important for us.”
On the possibility of becoming one of the strongest in his position: “There are many strong full-backs, but after the season I’ve done I can think I can become one of the best full-backs in the world. What I have to do is keep working and growing day by day, thanking also the coach, Paolo Maldini who brought me here and all my team-mates, who help me every day.”
On the derby: “We are very calm for the match against Inter: it is as if it were a normal match, even if it is called a derby. We have a great desire to play it and we will do it using all the weapons in our possession, running and fighting to try and win this challenge.”
On Ibrahimovic: “Ibra’s arrival was a very positive thing for us, he helped us one by one. When something wasn’t right he always supported us.”
On Italy: “I like Italy very much, I also met my new girlfriend here, I am very happy and content. I feel good in Milan and also in Sardinia, where I was on vacation: it was wonderful.”
On the national team: “After the great season I had, I was not called up for the national team, but it’s normal, every coach has the players he counts on, but I will continue to fight to ensure that he is called up on the next occasions. If that happens I’ll be the boy happiest in the world.”
On Milan: “I came here to stay for a long time, even more so after the great season I had last year. From the first moment I was welcomed in the best possible way and here it is as if I were at home, I want to stay here again for a long time.”
On what he needs to improve: “I will have to improve above all the defensive phase on which I still have to work. Training after training you can improve, and that’s what I’m doing”.
On the arrival at Milan: “As I said a long time ago after Maldini’s call and Milan’s desire to have me, I had no other priorities. Milan is a great club with an incredible history. Extraordinary players have passed through here when you are presented the possibility of coming here I have not thought of anything else “.
On the fans: “The work I do on the pitch has made me the idol of many fans, if I hadn’t been able to play like that it wouldn’t have happened. I thank our fans so much, when they meet me on the street they want to hug me and take pictures with me, that’s very nice of them.”
On Maldini: “From time to time Maldini takes me aside and tells me where to improve. I appreciate him so much, it’s great that a person like Maldini, for the player he was, gives me advice and tells me where to improve, or where I’m doing well.”
On Brahim Diaz: Brahim has also arrived, an impressive player for me. He and the fans will like playing here at Milan, we would like him to stay longer, at the moment he only has one year on his contract. In the end, however, we will see what happens but he will have a great season.”
On his hairstyle: “Every now and then I like to change my look, especially in summer. The weather is good, the sun is shining, having blonde hair is beautiful. Samu Castillejo dyes them too, if we were to reach the Champions League I would dye them red and black, with the Milan crest on the side.”