RICCARDO MONTOLIVO concluded his year, claiming the 2012 move to Milan changed his career.

Montolivo joined Milan in the summer on a Bosman after his deal with Fiorentina expired and he’s a starting XI player for Milan as he plays as one of the 2 holding midfielders or as part of the midfield-three.

Riccardo has already worn the Milan captain armband a few times this season as the Rossoneri lost many of their more-experienced players in the summer and he’s proud to be playing for a club like Milan.

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“It has been a year full of emotions: the first months were difficult because of my complicated situation in Florence,” Montolivo told the Milan Channel today. “I’ve grown a lot and I was called-up to the 2012 Euro. It was a great ride even though it ended badly in the final. However, I had experienced beautiful emotions.

“Then there was the move to Milan, which changed my career. The best moments of the passing year? The brace against Novara from when I was at Fiorentina, the 2012 Euro final and the match against Juventus when I was wearing the Milan captain armband. I arrived to a team that had lost their reference points so there was time needed to find the fight balance. I’m happy we managed to get past the difficult moment.

“I’m here for the coach like all the rest of the players. Milan have always built their wins in the changing room. The players’ behaviour off the field is very important for this club. I think that I can play in front of the defence. By working on it for a while I do think I can do a job there, but I’m being used as an outside central midfielder for now. I’m at the disposal of the coach so it will be up to him to decide where to field me.

“Being given the captain’s armband was like an award for what I’m doing both on and off the pitch. It was an unexpected surprise to wear it in such an important match like the one against Juventus. When Berlusconi gave it to me in the changing room, i was really happy but also surprised as I wasn’t expecting it. It’s very satisfying for me to be playing in one of the biggest teams in Europe. It is nice that the club is pleased with the growth of the team even if a team like Milan will take advantage of the market chances.

“I have a great regret that my goal against inter wasn’t approved as it would have been nice to score my first Milan goal against Inter. Against Chievo I scored my best goal at Milan but against Palermo it was the most important one because we were having a hard time and my goal started the comeback,” he added.

“De Jong? He’s a player that gives a lot to the team and to the locker room. I’m sorry for his serious injury because in the last games he was giving a great contribution to the team. The game against Barcelona? It will be an exciting and fascinating game. Both teams have made history in European football. On paper, we’re underdogs, but in football you never know. Being disadvantaged should be a stimulus to do well.

“In the home game it’ll be important to play a great game. Playing at the Camp Nou will be a great satisfaction for me since I’ve never played there. Milan’s objectives for the season? The league table is still quite tight; we are close to the top. We must continue to play well and win; we can get to the top positions.”

Montolivo, like all the other Milan players, is currently enjoying his Christmas vacation with his family. He will return to training in Milanello on December 30. Milan’s next game is against Siena on January 6.

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