“A Bad Start to The Season Does Not Scare Me”- El Shaarawy

Balotelli El Shaarawy

Mario Balotelli is not the only Milan player whose interview features in today’s Gazzetta dello Sport. Team-mate and best friend Stephan El Shaarawy also gave a short and sweet interview to the Italian sports paper.

If I’m on the cover of FIFA 14 with Lionel Messi then it must mean that I have done something good in life.“, El Shaarawy says smiling. In less than a month El Shaarawy will face his FIFA 14 cover partner in a Champions League group stage match.

..On the Serie A Season

“I don’t want to talk about goals or personal objectives. The most important thing is that the squad is doing well. Even last year, I hadn’t set any objectives in terms of goals and in the end the goals came by themselves. It wouldn’t be bad if the same thing happened again.”

“We reached third place in Serie A last season, and that was a great achievement. The objective is to do better than last season. That is obvious to me and I’m being very honest. This poor start to the season doesn’t scare me.”

..On Allegri

“My relationship with Massimiliano Allegri is very good. He has been very worried about my health off late. I’m happy that he stayed with us.”

..On his position

“Of Course, I’m ready to play as a second striker. If there is the need for it, then I’m even ready to play as a trequartista. I occasionally did that at Padova. I’m happy with what I have done so far at Milan. I have scored goals and I have missed some chances. Personally, I can’t complain. I feel a part of this project in every sense.”

..On Balotelli

“Nowadays Balotelli is calm. He knows that he made a mistake and he apologized to us right after the match. He knows that he has to improve because he hurts us by doing such things. We have spoken and I told him what I think.”

“Mario Apologizes but let’s not exaggerate..”- Balotelli

Balotelli napoli gazzetta

Long story short, Balotelli threatened the referee, got himself sent off and banned for 3 matches. Curiously, Instead of appealing against the ban slapped on their most important player, Milan decided to take an ethical stand and stay mum. Instead Balotelli has been the one speaking to the media apologizing to those affected and speaking against the injustice on the pitch.

Today morning, Gazzetta Dello Sport printed an extended candid interview with Mario Balotelli. Operation Redeem Mario Balotelli is on.

..On the Red Card

“I apologize mainly to my teammates who were left abandoned. They’re the ones that I train hard with every day. I also apologize to the fans who care a lot about us and also to the management. I hurt my team but I didn’t mean to. I also apologize to Banti, I shouldn’t have said those things. If Mario makes a foul then he must be punished. If another player fouls Mario then he also must be punished.”

“In the Champions League i don’t have this problem. There, the red cards are red cards for everyone, same for the yellow cards. Everything is normal there. I realize that getting knocked around is a part of football but I don’t want to be forced to end my career at the age of 28.

They don’t use the same scale of judgment in Italy. However, I know that I have to be stronger and colder. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also get angry when they are hit but I know that in order to reach the top, I have to be better at containing myself in certain situations.”

..On Napoli and the missed penalty

“During the Napoli match, God must have been busy with something else. I had 5 shots on goal but none of them went in. The same story when I played with the national team. It’s an unlucky period. The missed penalty had to happen sooner or later. It’s true that I lost my focus and concentration in that match. Reina did well. I looked him straight in the eyes up until a certain point and then I lowered my look and it ended badly. I don’t think it had any effect on the end result.”

.. On Serie A

“Allegri says that we can reach the top spots before Christmas and i agree, we can do it. We are not inferior to anyone, we just need to change the gear. I saw the Bologna match at home. The performance was positive for most of it but we’re not having a good spell. We have lapses and we pay dearly for them. But It will pass.

This Serie A season looks very balanced and it will be fascinating. It’s not like when Inter were too strong under Mancini and Mourinho. It’s too soon to make any verdicts. Napoli for example. They have great players like Higuain, Hamsik, Zuniga and the others but they didn’t impress me as a team when we played them at San Siro.”

“Montella ? I don’t know why he worries so much about me. We have never had any direct problems with each other. Anyways, he can stay calm because I’m not banned for the match against Fiorentina.”

..On the ban

“When i am banned, i talk as little as possible about football. Even at home when my mother starts to lecture me, I tell her not to get me stressed but I’m fortunate enough to have amazing parents. And how does that saying go? Behind every great man is a great woman. I’m calm now because of my girlfriend.”

“I have a knee problem at the moment but I’m recovering well. I’m counting on being ready for the Ajax match. After the nice victory against Celtic we must win against Ajax in order to be calm ahead of the important match against Barça.”

..On his personality

“Those who think that i am a spoilt person obviously didn’t know me when I was younger. I’ve calmed down a lot. I feel more like a man now. I’m definitely not the person that I was at Inter 4 years ago. I know that I have a lot of work to do to reach the difficult objectives that I have in mind.”

On the pitch, I don’t lack generosity and effort. I’ll gladly chase an opponent down to the corner flag if there’s a need for it. The problem is lack of concentration on my behalf.

When I’m not running on the pitch, then it’s coz I just made a mistake and I feel like it’s my fault. Therefore I stop a moment to think about it. I’m always super-involved. I have to turn my discouragement into anger – but without exaggerating it , otherwise they will give me a red card.”

..On Mancini and England

“I am grateful for what Mancini has done for me. He showed faith in me at Inter and then again at Manchester City but I didn’t leave because of him. The truth is that there were five great strikers at City and I was forced to play on the left wing. I kept on working hard and seriously during the last season at City but too many things were happening around me.”

“I left England because the journalists were hammering me and it’s not like things are going much better now. However, I’m happy to have joined Milan, the club that I have supported since I was a kid.”

..On Italian NT and Prandelli

“The Italian national team is my pride. It’s everyone’s dream to wear that shirt and I feel like my dream has come true. Prandelli also deserves credit for that. I owe a lot to him. He believed in me during my most difficult moments and he’s an important influence on me.”

“Apologize to Prandelli? I made a mistake. I let myself go and Mario apologizes but let’s not exaggerate. I don’t have to apologize to everyone. I haven’t killed anyone.”

..On other attackers

“Matri is a great striker and he did well against Bologna. At the moment our problem isn’t scoring goals. It’s conceding too many goals. We all have to be better at defending, starting with the strikers who must do their job in pressing.”

“Carlitos is a great player. I got along with him well at Manchester City. I called him many times to convince him to join Milan but then he chose Juventus. It’s a pity.”

“I congratulate Giuseppe Rossi for the good start that he has had this season. Peppe is really a good player…Unfortunately we have never played together for Italy due to many reasons, but I hope that the right moment will arrive sooner or later. I only hope that he and his team will lose against Milan.”

..On Allegri

“Allegri tells me to stay more inside the penalty area and not drift out wide and he’s right. I have to improve on that but drifting out wide to find more space comes natural to me. If I was playing next to another Balotelli then everything would be different but that’s not the problem. I also need more experience. Similarities with Ibrahimovic? Zlatan is different, so that’s not the point.”

“Everything is fine between me and Allegri. He motivates us well and we hope to support him as a team. We need a bit more luck in order to return to the top three or four and play the second half of the season on even terms with the other teams.”

..On El Shaarawy and Niang

“El Shaarawy needs to cut his hair. He and Niang don’t listen to me but they would look better if they cut their hair. I’m just kidding. El Shaarawy just needs to regain a bit of self-confidence. He has great qualities and we all saw that last season. He also started this season well by scoring important goals, like the one against PSV Eindhoven.”

“M’Baye Niang has great qualities. He just need to have a bit more self-confidence. We need to stay close to him and support him, which is what I’m trying to do.”

“My shooting accuracy comes from playing a lot of Pool”- El Shaarawy

El Shaarawy shopping

An interview with Milan star striker Stephan El Shaarawy appeared in the October edition of the FourFourTwo magazine. (more…)

“I want to stay far away from the football world”- Maldini

maldini cup newscastle

“I think that Ancelotti will do very well at Real Madrid. Simply because he’s been successful everywhere he’s coached.”, Paolo Maldini tells Marca, when (more…)

“Milan’s Youth Project is Similar to Ajax’s”- De Jong

de jong chelsea ajax

We are used to ridiculing Adriano Galliani when he hails a player’s return from injury as a ‘New signing’ but in the case of Nigel De Jong It really seems to be the case. He has easily been the best Milan player in the pre-season making us wonder what last season could’ve been, had he been fit.

Nigel spoke to Gazzetta Dello Sport about his injury, being at Milan and an old friend.

“It was a pity that I got injured at a very important time last season. Perhaps my body had given too much and it was at the point of breaking down. I dedicated myself to overcoming the injury with a positive approach. It’s not at all easy to work and sweat without playing but it was necessary.”

For now De Jong is relieved to be back and has just one goal on his mind- to succeed.

“The atmosphere at Milan impresses me.It’s very positive, I see many youngsters improving and everybody is working very hard.”

“When you decide to count on youngsters you need to give them time. Milan have a good project based on young players, just like Ajax. They also give a chance to the young players. Though, I grew up at Ajax, I don’t care about playing beautiful football. My objective is to achieve success.”

Playing in Serie A- Which is perhaps the most tactical league in the world doesn’t bother him much. Nigel doesn’t care for tactical indulgence.

“I don’t think much about the tactics. The important thing is to move and act as a team. I believe that a team should be judged as a unit.”

“I play with a lot of heart and a lot of motivation. I work for my team-mates in every match. You don’t have to wear the captain’s armband to be a leader. It’s what your team-mates think of you and how you behave on the pitch. I’m Nigel and and I interpret football in my own way. I have never compared myself to anyone… only thinking about being myself.”

..And finally Nigel spends some time talking about his old friend Mario Balotelli.

“Mario is fun and a great player who has grown a lot.At Manchester City he would do and say silly things but now it’s different and he has changed completely. I think it’s very important for him be close to his family and friends and also be in an environment that nurtures him. He’s a completely different person now.”

“Alessandro Nesta is My Idol”- Silvestre


After a horrible last year at Inter, Matias Silvestre- with a big smile on his face has joined AC Milan on loan. The first thing he did was send a greeting to the player he’s replacing. “I am sorry for Daniele (Bonera) and i wish him a speedy recovery”.

After a busy day where he had to go through the medical and other formalities, he spoke to Gazzetta Dello Sport yesterday

“When Adriano Galliani called to welcome me at Milan he reminded me that they were interested in signing me last summer too.His words gave me immense encouragement”.

“I thank Allegri too but this is not time for making claims.I know that there is a high wall to climb and I’m not afraid.”

..On Interest from other Serie A clubs

“I had nothing against Parma and Genoa. I thank them for their attentions but I was hoping for a solution at a high level club and fortunately Milan remembered me. I could not hope for more.”

..On Inter

At Inter it went all wrong from the beginning itself. First i had the injury which kept me out for long and when i returned i forced myself to show off too much. For Example At Inter i was close to scoring many goals but for me now, it seems much more important to show my skills as a defender. I do not want to make excuses but it was a bad season for everyone.”

“However, now i feel well and i am looking forward to the test that is Milan.I hope Allegri calls me to play immediately..”

“Number 26 ? It’s a random number. Right now i am just looking to gain confidence in the new environment without making any promises. Even if Allegri calls me to play fullback, I will be ready.I just want to serve the team.”

..On The Milan Defense

“In the second half of the season the performance of the Milan defense was much improved thanks to the pair of Mexes-Zapata. But above all, there was an excellent team spirit. This was obvious even from the outside.”

“I have always had a place in my heart for the Rossoneri colors. Alessandro Nesta has always been my idol. In the Intercontinental Cup final of 2007 i asked him for his shirt. I still have it with me and i sure hope he has mine.”

“It’s An Honor For Me To Be Compared To Thiago Silva”- Maldini

On the eve of the Confederations cup match between Brazil & Italy, Globoesporte.Com spoke to Paolo Maldini over the phone.

The AC Milan legend gave an insightful interview where he discussed the state of world football and Thiago Silva. Makes you wonder once again why such a knowledgable person like him is not being given an official role by the Milan Management.

Have you been following the Confederations Cup?

Yes, I have seen some games. Of Italy and Brazil mainly.

What do you think of the two teams?

Well for now, I’ve liked most of what i saw of Italy. The team is a little tired, the players are a bit stressed but they are a real team. As for Brazil, I have seen good performances but still no single team performance. They Lack rapport. I think Brazil will correct some errors and will be stronger in the next year’s World Cup.

In 1994, you lost the Cup to Brazil. Do you think there could be a Brazil vs Italy Final next year?

It is too early to talk about the World Cup. The Confederations Cup has nothing to do with the World Cup. But today, Spain has without a doubt the strongest team. Vicente del Bosque has managed to keep playing in the style of Barcelona and he remains faithful to the same lineup. Their level is still very high and superior compared to the others.

Which Brazilian player has surprised you the most during this tournament?

Neymar. Everyone is very anxious to see him play in Europe. Until now, we heard of Neymar and we only saw pieces of games, dribbles & goals but little else. I really wanted to watch a full match of the new Barcelona player. I think he made a perfect choice to go to Barcelona.

Do You think he will find it difficult to play with Messi?

Players who go to Barcelona must have a team mentality and Neymar has that. He knows how to play at first touch. He’s not just a player who dribbles and scores goals. I do not think he will have problems because Barcelona are a team that dominates games. He chose a team that can adapt to his characteristics.

Is Neymar more important for Brazil or Balotelli for Italy?

Both of them are two great players but both are also too young to take on the responsibility alone. I don’t think that Brazil or Italy should depend on these players alone to win a competition. That will not work. They will have many ups and downs at this early stage and they must be surrounded by experienced people who can help them grow and share responsibilities.

For Italy, Have Buffon and Pirlo assumed this role for Balotelli?

Yes, but Balotelli must grow as well. His behavior is not appropriate for a player of his level.

Do you think he has improved at Milan?

I’m not aware of the inner workings of the Milan of today. But in my time, Milan was a club where great players and men were formed.

Who was the strongest Brazilian player you faced in your career?

Ronaldo while he was at Inter and with the Azzuri it was Romario. They are different players, but in the penalty area Romario was amazing.

In your last year at Milan, you trained with the current captain of the Brazilian team. When you saw Thiago Silva for the first time did you think he’d reach this level?

When he arrived at Milan, He just trained during the first six months and did not play any matches. He Had a good touch but had no sense of teamwork. Gradually he improved his rapport with the team and with others in the defense.

Today, I can say that Thiago Silva has no rival in his position. He is by far the best defender in the world. Sergio Ramos is physically very strong but Thiago Silva is better and much more decisive.

Of all the Defenders today, Does Thiago Silva most resembles your style?

I do not know. Each defender has his own characteristics. I started as a fullback and finished as a central defender. It’s a compliment for me to be compared to him. Especially the way he plays in the area. He is an exceptional player.

What do you think of the central defense pairing of David Luiz and Thiago Silva?

I have my doubts. Scolari has much work to do with the Brazilian defense. I think he still does not have a clear idea and will probably change the team and the defense for the World Cup.

In my opinion, the central defense pairing have to be focused on defense. Thiago Silva knows how to start an attack but above all he is a great defender. His partner in defense must have the same characteristics. In this position, it is very important to have a great understanding between the two, otherwise it can be a disaster.

But Thiago Silva and David Luiz have demonstrated a good relationship..

I do not know, honestly. We need to wait a bit more to assess them, It is too early right now. However, David Luiz needs to greatly improve his focus on defense. Distractions in the World Cup are paid for dearly. He spent half a season playing in the midfield and that does not help you to improve as a Defender.

In the duel between the two defenses on Saturday, Do You prefer Italy or Brazil ?

At first thought Brazil, because they have Thiago Silva who is absolutely the best. But in general, Nobody knows defending better than Italy. Their defensive line is more compact and so is the the midfield. Despite the fatigue, Barzagli is the best Italian defender in recent years.

In your time, you played alongside Baresi, Costacurta & Cannavarro. That defense was feared by all. Today the Italian defense is no longer at the same level, why?

Today, It’s a different kind of defensive lineup. Every age has its own style and the current players simply have different features. However there’s a prevailing trend in world football. Currently, it is difficult to find defenders of high level because everyone thinks of attack and not so much about defense. In Europe, there are no quality defenders anymore. Now teams are only evaluated by their midfield or the attack but the most important thing is to defend.

Brazil play with two offensive full backs: Daniel Alves and Marcelo. Do you agree with the choice?

They are also very strong in midfield and in attack.If Brazil dominate the ball like Barcelona then they have no need to defend. What I can say though, is that in the World Cup, especially after the group stage get over, the tempo is very high. If a team has a hole, then the opponent will attack there. I remember perfectly that the hardest thing was to defend, not to attack. A defensive line must consists of four defenders who know how to defend before thinking of attack.

“Milan Must Dominate in Europe again”- Baresi

Franco Baresi spoke to Libero about his Career, his AC Milan and his favorite players and stressed the importance for a club like Milan to dominate Europe. (more…)

“Balotelli and I are two very nice guys”- El Shaarawy

El Shaarawy spoke to Icon magazine as a part of their series on Youth Talent in serie A. The shy young striker opened up about being a milan fan and his friendship with Balotelli.


“I’m Not a Bad Boy” – Niang

Milan’s young prodigy and fan favorite M’Baye Niang spoke to France Football about the change in his lifestyle and in his attitude since joining AC Milan.