Riccardo Montolivo interview

(SOURCE: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 12 August edition)

Another interview with a Milan player from La Gazzetta. Montolivo the subject this time. Translation below.

Now that you are captain, should you carry yourself in a more authoritarian manner. Maybe take Balotelli by the ear when he does something wrong?

“Mario does not need particular treatment. Whenever he has been in the wrong, he has made a note of it to the club. And then he is an old youngster, at times he knows to withstand the pressure.”

Abbiati – who was captain through seniority – how has he taken your appointment?

“He and Bonera were true gentlemen. For me, the armband is an honour, a weight and above all a thing to be shared with others. At Milan, as Ambrosini explained to me, it is always this way – there are always five or six that lead the group.”

The racist chanting could be trouble. So far in Italian football there have been two exits from the pitch. Both were Milan players.

“There is a referee who must decide. When it becomes involves one of our own on an emotional level, we will do this, and it will be up to him to establish what to do. This is the right procedure and it is what happened against Roma.”

Captain’s armband apart, a year later are you a different Montolivo?

“I don’t think so. I see myself as the usual. For more than 10 years I carry myself in the same way.”

Allegri says, however, that on a personality level you have grown a lot.

“Probably when one finds themselves up against the most important test it gives the best of oneself. But that is not enough to say that I have made it at Milan. You need to confirm yourself over many seasons. You need to demonstrate something and amaze every day.”

Between you and Allegri it is evident that there is a mutual respect. Have you ever been afraid of finding another coach at Milan for this season?

“Honestly, at the end of the season we understood that there was this possibility. However, I am happy that nothing happened. Allegri has everything you need to lead a great team.”

Were you consulted by the club?

“I would say that there was not even the need. We expressed our affection and respect rather clearly.”

And now maybe Allegri will repay you by asking you to move from the role of playmaker, where you made the jump in quality….

“I play where he thinks it is best for the team, and I repeat that this is not a diplomatic comment.”

Many critics do not like a player like De Jong in front of the defence.

“Nigel is not a dog that just retrieves the ball and that’s it. He has quality – he comes from the school of Ajax and there they always teach you to play the ball. And then in that position we will alternate as needed.”

The way you are used for the national team could be a problem?

“I don’t think so. Prandelli knows me well – moving 30-40 metres changes nothing.”

For the national team the blocco Milan has returned.

“At the Confederations Cup there were five, and there is Poli who has a chance of making the World Cup. It will make a great season.”

Names of the youth players to make a note of.

“Cristante was already in the first team and we knew him already. Petagna has surprised me, but for next season I also focus on Iotti.”

Regarding Petagna being called as a substitute, how is your friend Pazzini?

“Very well, but the road to a return is long. But he feels behind the Milan project more than ever. He is attached to the squad and he will give us a lot.”

We speak a lot about Balotelli, but maybe the kid to be protected is El Shaarawy, who finished the season in decline and is always under observation.

“Stephan is 20-years-old and must accept the highs and lows. We’ve all been through it – the growth of El Shaarawy was exponential and the pressures were many. I am certain that Stephan will be confirmed and will also go to the World Cup.”

Why is it that every time a kid enters a crisis his girlfriend is mentioned, his head is not what it was before etc.?

“In the world of the media there is little balance. We get excited quickly but when they fall we make more rumours.”

Are you really bulletproof to these situations?

“It seems unlikely that a boy of 20 years is completely bulletproof. As I have said, Mario is an old youngster and is used to the pressure, but Stephan must create a filter for himself. It is a normal growth process.”

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