Theo Hernandez arrived at AC Milan last summer and his first season, collectively speaking, was not a positive one. Individually, however, the left-back performed remarkably and he is now building on his performances as one of the pillars of Stefano Pioli’s team.
Now, after a year at the club, the former Real Madrid man is ready to target ambitious goals with the Rossoneri.
The 23-year-old Frenchman spoke to Corriere della Sera (via Milannews.it) about coach Pioli, his ambitions and much more.
“Now we are another Milan, we can win the derby. Compared to a year ago feel much stronger, we are stronger. Everything has changed. We are calm, a lot, even though we know well that it is not an ordinary match,” he opened up to the Milanese paper.
“We have to play as we have done so far, fight and do our best to win it. It is true that Milan lost four derbies in a row, but now we can win. Now we have a very good team, this is a real group. And the fans are with us.”
Hernandez went on to speak about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to the San Siro and elaborated on the positive moment of the team since Serie A resumed after the lockdown, as the Rossoneri have not suffered a defeat since the last pre-quarantine match against Genoa.
“Ibrahimovic? Since he arrived, everything has changed. He helps us, speaks to us, supports us, one by one. A leader. He is fundamental.
“We worked hard during the quarantine, it is no coincidence that we never lost. But the road is long.
“I’ve been here for a year and have played the best football of my life. I’m living a dream. After the difficulties of the last two years, I didn’t expect such rapid growth, but I know what a player I am, I know my qualities.
“When I arrived, I said I want to become the best fullback. There are many great players in that position, but after a year like this, I realized that I can do it.”
Milan’s pillar also spoke about the man who brought him to the club – Paolo Maldini – during the interview as well as about coach Stefano Pioli. Finally, he addressed the club’s objective for the season.
“I have to keep working. I owe it to Maldini who wanted me, to my teammates who help me and to my coach who is helping me grow. As a kid, I did some stupid things, but in reality, I consider myself calm and cheerful.
“Maldini was fundamental for me. When he called me I had no doubts. Milan is Milan. And then there was him, an absolute champion.
“Pioli? Since he arrived things have been clear. He told us what to do and how to do it. He arrived in a difficult moment, we did not win and the fans were not happy.
“We have grown a lot. The team, but also me personally. It is exceptional. When the news came out that he could leave, I did not understand why. He was doing very well. Luckily he staying. And now we’re up there.
“I’m happy at Milan. It’s like my home. I’m here to return to the Champions League. With Milan. There’s a feeling, with the coach and between us. It will be tough, but we want to do it. And we can. And if it happens, I will dye my hair red and black,” Theo concluded.