AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez has revealed that a meeting with Paolo Maldini convinced him to leave Real Madrid and move to Italy.
The Frenchman was the first signing of the summer for Milan, arriving on a five-year deal from the LaLiga side.
He has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise disastrous start to the season, with the club currently sat in the bottom half of the table ahead of Sunday’s game against Parma.
Radio Kiss Kiss (via Calciomercato.it) reported that Napoli were also interested in the 21-year-old during the summer, while La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that he is now worth €35m – a sharp increase from the €21m Milan paid.
In the end, it was Paolo Maldini’s charm offensive that proved to be decisive, and Hernandez has settled in to life in Milano as well as could have been hoped.
Interviewed by L’Equipe, Theo Hernandez discussed why he left Real Madrid for Milan, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.it.
“I needed to play and my meeting with Paolo Maldini made me change my mind,” he said.
“He came to see me in Ibiza, we tied up immediately. Maldini is a phenomenon, probably the best ever in my role. We talked and he knew me well. When someone like Maldini who chooses you, it shows he trusts you.
“I still had a four-year contract with Real, Real was an important step. In 2017-18 I played 23 games, I won the Champions League and that season we won almost everything together with my brother [Lucas, who won the Europa League with Atletico].
“It was not easy. Last year I was on loan to Real Sociedad and I discussed it with my agent and we decided that it was better for me to leave Spain.”