What do you think of AC Milan

Interview with Hakan Calhanoglu from AC Milan: "Zlatan just went into the dressing room during the game"

AC Milan are again a serious opponent in the Italian Serie A. After the Corona break, the Rossoneri did not lose any of their twelve games last season, nine of them were won. It is thanks to Hakan Calhanoglu that the long-established club is one of the favorites for the title this season, which began on Monday for Milan with a 2-0 win against FC Bologna.

The ex-Leverkusen finally flourished and was elected Serie A player in July. In an interview with SPOX and DAZN speaks to Calhanoglu about his upswing, the title ambitions and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mr. Calhanoglu, at the end of September Serie A will start the season again. What do you wish for the coming season?

Hakan Calhanoglu: First of all, I hope that the second corona wave will not happen. In terms of sport, we want to take another step forward and be up there for as long as possible. We want to pick up where we left off in the end.

Milan was extremely strong, especially after the Corona break. How do you explain the team's upswing?

Calhanoglu: Stefano Pioli has brought us a lot further tactically. Nothing against his predecessor Marco Giampaolo, but somehow his systems didn't reach us, that works much better with Pioli. If Zlatan Ibrahimovic then joins the squad again, with his mentality and his qualities on the pitch, that brings a team forward. For me personally, it was important that I was finally able to play in my favorite position permanently - and my coach made that possible for me.

Why do you feel so comfortable on the "Ten"?

Calhanoglu: That was my role in Leverkusen under Roger Schmidt. I feel free and can move as I want. This means that I can use my teammates again and again and that is what sets me apart.

Hakan Calhanoglu on Zlatan Ibrahimovic: "All of his experience helps us"

You mentioned Zlatan Ibrahimovic. What distinguishes him?

Calhanoglu: Zlatan has so many ideas that he wants to implement with us on the pitch. All of his experience helps us and, above all, his unconditional will to win. It starts with training. Zlatan wants to win every little training game himself, is totally ambitious and gets really angry when he loses.

How is that expressed then?

Calhanoglu: I can remember a training game where we were behind. Then he just went into the dressing room during the game.

Ibrahimovic had said that Milan would have become champions with him if he had played from the start of the season. Is he right?

Calhanoglu: He must have already thought about it. That shows his great self-confidence. And I hope he'll prove it to us too.

It seems like you have a special relationship with him. Is that correct?

Calhanoglu: Zlatan knew me and my qualities even before his return. He always asks me to play freely, not to think too much and to always be 100 percent focused. He also always tells me that my body is my capital. He passes his experiences on to me. On the pitch, I just know how he moves and he knows my routes.

Do you do a lot together privately?

Calhanoglu: Yes, but only when our families are not there. Otherwise he spends time with his children and his wife, and I mean with my family.

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Hakan Calhanoglu: "Ralf Rangnick was only briefly an issue for us"

The upswing of Milan began almost at the same time as speculations about a commitment from Ralf Rangnick as coach. How is that related?

Calhanoglu: With all due respect to Ralf Rangnick, because I know him from the Bundesliga and many have asked me about him, but that was only briefly an issue in the dressing room. Despite the rumors, Pioli gave 100 percent every day and we then paid him back on the pitch.

Your club has strengthened itself again. Sandro Tonali is the most notable addition. What do you think of him?

Calhanoglu: He did really well at Brescia Calcio. But AC Milan are of course a size bigger. We have to give him time to get used to everything. His style of play is a bit like Andrea Pirlo.

Speaking of Pirlo: The former world star found a job in his first coaching position at Juventus Turin. Are you surprised?

Calhanoglu: As a player you have a lot of experience, then as a coach. The fact that you start at such a top club right away is a surprise, because it's a huge responsibility. I hope the best for him.

Hakan Calhanoglu: "Our goal is the Champions League"

The great City councilivale Inter landed in second place, AC in sixth: Are the Milan clubs on their way back to the top of the world?

Calhanoglu: We want to build on the tradition of the time around Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. Our goal is clearly to reach the Champions League. We brought Tonali, Zlatan extended, we want to achieve something. In any case, my hopes are high.

You mentioned Paolo Maldini. His son Daniel is also under contract with Milan. What kind of guy is he?

Calhanoglu: He is a good boy with many qualities. He certainly needs a lot of time. But he's on the right track.

Do you notice actually already the hardships caused by the unusual rhythm of the corona pandemic?

Calhanoglu: This is an unfamiliar situation for everyone. We have never played like this before. This is why unusual injuries also happen because there is no regeneration time. Therefore, everyone must behave more professionally. But we are also humans and not robots. It was definitely great for the fans to be able to see football on TV every two days. But it was a tough time for us.

And hand on heart: What is it like to play in the stadium without a spectator?

Calhanoglu: Football is boring without a spectator. There is a lack of motivation, the adrenaline in the body. Our fans are the twelfth man on the pitch. Hopefully they can come back to the stadium soon.

Who was your best teammate in your career?

Calhanoglu: Clearly: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. There is not much more to say.

And who has been your toughest opponent in Italy so far?

Calhanoglu: Playing against Giorgio Chiellini is just always uncomfortable. A tough opponent. In Germany, Niklas Süle from FC Bayern is someone who can also take it very hard.

Is there a player who at AC Milan for a good mood in the dressing room cares?

Calhanoglu: (laughs) Franck Kessie is the prankster in our squad. But overall we're a very good-humored team, the atmosphere is actually always fun with us.

Hakan Calhanoglu: Career Stations

2012-2013Karlsruher SC5017
2013-2014Hamburger SV3211
2014-2017Bayer 04 Leverkusen7917
Since 2017AC Milan10218