Fikayo Tomori has lifted the lid on the Scudetto celebrations that he and his AC Milan team-mates enjoyed after winning the league title.
Tomori was a huge part of the team that ended an 11-year drought to be the Champions of Italy, being a mainstay in the starting line-up but for the month off he had due to a minor knee operation.
He gave an interview with The Guardian about the season just gone and also about the call-up he just received from Gareth Southgate for the English national team. He began by recalling Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s words the aftermath of the title win.
“He was like: ‘Guys, if we win, be ready because it will go crazy,’” Tomori says.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before – so many people. It was a three-, four-, five-kilometre drag but it took hours. To see everyone on the streets… I can’t really describe it.
“No one expected us to do it. So when we did, it felt even better – kind of proving people wrong, it was sweet for all of us. We knew we could do it.”
The likes of Conor Coady, Marc Guéhi and Ben White have kept Tomori out of the England squad somehow in the last few rounds of selection, but now he is back in the national side.
“If I don’t get called up, I’m not thinking: ‘Ah, what’s happening?’” Tomori says. “I wasn’t panicking [in March], I was just focusing on my performances and helping Milan. But from there, if I do get called up, it’s making sure I take the steps to stay here.”
Of course, being able to work under legendary defenders like Paolo Maldini – the Milan technical director – and honorary vice-president Franco Baresi gives Tomori two reference points.
“I saw [Franco] Baresi after the last game, which was cool. You see different legends just flying about,” he said.
“The way they are as defenders [in Italy] – I wouldn’t say it’s personal but it’s: ‘I need to make sure what I’m doing is on the money and no one’s getting past me’. They have that pride. There are little things the manager will tell me – make sure that you are blocking a run or that you are not allowing this to happen or making contact in the box.
“Watching [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini … they are very streetwise, you pick up stuff. The referees whistle a lot more so you can’t go in or, if you do, you have to tackle properly. You make sure you stay on your feet and are in the right positions so you can win the ball back and not give away fouls.”
Tomori also recalled a different celebration he endured at the Duomo, namely England’s Euro 2020 final where they lost on penalties to Italy after a 1-1 draw.
“When they equalised, I had a face on and didn’t want to look too down. But as the penalties were going on, it was difficult to watch. I was near the Duomo and, in a way, it was nice to see them celebrating. I was right in the middle of it.
“But really I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I’d felt how it was in England as we advanced; it was madness. Then I saw Italy celebrate after the final and it’s definitely a motivation for me.”