Udinese star recalls rejecting Milan despite ‘the invitation of Paolo Maldini’

By Oliver Fisher -

Udinese star Lazar Samardzic has revealed that he said no to the possibility of joining AC Milan, while also adding that he has zero regrets about not moving to Inter.

Milan have been repeatedly linked with a move for Samardzic over the years, even dating back to his time in the Hertha BSC youth team which was before he joined RB Leipzig and then came over to Italy with Udinese.

The attacking midfielder has very much impressed with his development since he moved to Serie A and this has drawn links with a number of top clubs both in Italy and abroad, with the Rossoneri continuing to be mentioned as a potential destination.

Now, Samardzic has spoken to Cronache di locker room (via Calciomercato.com) about his failed Inter move as well as rejecting Barcelona and Milan, and even getting compliments from Leao.

Is it true you said no to Maldini?

“A year after Barcelona’s offer, however, Milan tried. Together with my family I went to Milanello, at the invitation of Paolo Maldini. They showed us the facilities, I was 17 years old and my father had always told me that Italian football, until a few years earlier, ruled the world.

“Even that day, we told ourselves not to rush. Shortly after, I would make my debut for Hertha Berlin and every weekend, I would go to the Olympiastadion to watch the match.

“I really liked going to the stadium: when we went to Serbia, they always took me to Marakana to support Red Star. My dad is a huge fan. I promised him that I will end his career there. I fell in love with their support.”

And Inter tried too?

“I learned to be glorified but also to take some beatings. Like last summer. I experienced an unpleasant situation firsthand, but then nothing came of it. It was August, I remember well, and there was nothing else to read about.

“When the first problems arose, I opened the phone and found lots of insults in my private messages. And every hour they increased. Every comment on my profile was about that. I immediately said to myself: ‘Laki, calm down. It’s normal’. Fans are people, and not all people are the same.

“I promised myself immediately to look forward, that I would turn those offences to get even stronger. However, I was hurt by those fans who put my father in a bad light, who insulted him by saying that he only thought about money, that he was ruining my career.

“Nothing could be further from reality. We talked to each other a lot in those days. And in the end, after all that chaos, I looked inside myself and realised that I didn’t have any kind of regret about how the story went, about not having gone to Inter.

“I grew from that situation, a moment I experienced that hurt me. I can say that when you are targeted by haters, you must neither fall nor give up. Instead, laugh at it, because it’s normal for it to happen unfortunately.

“It must give you some positive vibes to turn the situation around. If they don’t like it and feel they have to insult you, know that there are just as many people ready to support you. In fact, when I returned to Udine to train, no one made me worry. In fact, they welcomed me with a smile.

“Nothing had happened. And it was what I needed. I came out bigger, that’s for sure. Even on the pitch: this season I also had the opportunity to try out other roles. I feel like an attacking midfielder, but I’m also growing as a playmaker and midfielder.”

Were Barcelona keen as well?

“I shook hands with Cristiano Ronaldo after his last match with Juventus. I shook hands with Zlatan (after having barge him with my shoulder in a tackle, and having feared that he would look at me very badly) and I also got his shirt.

“I’m only missing Messi. He’s unique. While growing up in Germany, I tried to be like him. At 16 I had the opportunity to try. Barcelona came knocking on my door. It was Patrick Kluivert, head of Barcelona’s youth sector.

“He showed us the growth plan and the idea they had for me. But my parents thought that I was too young to leave, that it was too early, and I agreed with them.”

Is it true Leao complimented you?

“I got various shirts: Calhanoglu, Jović, Džeko, Leão. By the way, Rafa complimented me after the goal I scored against him in the last match we played as opponents.

“I was talking in the dressing room with Jović and Adli arrived: ‘Oh Laki, what have you done!’. And then Leão also came to shake my hand.”

Tags AC Milan Lazar Samardzic

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