Christian Abbiati shed some more light on why he decided to end his career: “I came from the top and didn’t want to end my career at the absolute bottom. It was a matter of personal dignity and pride.”
At the age of 38, goalkeeper Abbiati decided to quit football (and focus on his second hobby – motorcycles) and so he’s leaving the Rossoneri after 15 years and red and black in which won 8 trophies.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Abbiati revealed the reasons behind his decision to retire and spoke about the men in the dressing room which weren’t up to the standards of Milan in terms of behavior (not to mention abilities).
“I’d like Milan to start again from the Juventus performance (in the Coppa Italia),” said Abbiati, who opened a Harley Davidson dealership in early May, “This squad was worth more than seventh place. With the right attitude, they could go for the Champions League as early as next year.
“Brocchi said several players have the wrong attitude? He’s right. There are 4-5 players that didn’t do what was asked of them, and I’m not talking about making mistakes on the field. if it was just one player we could have isolated them, but because it was so many players, it was tough to do so.
“I said that I’ve decided to retire because this Milan is too different from the one of the past? If I close my eyes and think back to the Milan side’s I played for until 2011, I see a different team in every regard. I look at things by thinking about the values Albertini, Costacurta and Maldini taught me.
“Over my whole career I was only fined once, for falling asleep and coming late. This is not to say that we lived under a dictatorship or anything, but in training we all ran like lightning. If we suffer a bad defeat, I won’t even consider the idea of showing myself at a club. It had come to the point that I woke up on Monday morning and felt anxious when I stepped out of my house. I was ashamed to walk the street for how poorly the team was doing, even though my conscience was clean.
“The fact that I didn’t play against Roma? It wasn’t a problem. In truth I was already out of it and I had to be sincere about it with Brocchi, who is my best friend. But my decision also depended on next year’s perspectives. I came from the top and didn’t want to end my career at the absolute bottom.
“It was a matter of personal dignity and pride. When I first considered to retire? After my rant in mid-March, following the game against Chievo. The final straw was after Bologna, I’d really had enough. As a symbolic example, consider that when Bacca was subbed off against Carpi, he left the pitch without waiting for the end of the match and without acknowledging the player who replaced him. I gave him a piece of my mind in the changing room, but when I turned around, I saw that nobody was backing me. It seems that if you don’t have certain values inside you, then you just can’t be interested in them. Back in my days, Gattuso would have pulled out a knife.
“How I feel without football? I’ll begin to suffer in mid-July when the team will go into retreat and I won’t be there. The reality is that I haven’t had a good cry yet. I wanted it to happen at San Siro against Roma but it didn’t. It’ll happen sooner or later, in private.
“The number of text messages I’ve received? Hundreds, even if it’s bizarre that many wrote on social media and not personally to me. President Silvio Berlusconi? I haven’t heard anything from him, I hope he will say something soon as he is part of my family.
“He seems focused on selling Milan? I understand the need to have fresh funds come in but I can’t see Milan without him. I hope he remains. Working for the club? I’d like that a lot. I’ll have a chat with Galliani, though we don’t have an interview scheduled and I won’t be the one knocking on the door.
“But I know very well what I could do for the club. Suppose that the Coach comes over and tells me a certain player isn’t behaving properly. Well, I could be the one who goes and gives him a good kick! Isn’t that called the ‘club manager’ nowadays?
“If that coach could be Brocchi? It’s hard to say. They can certainly start a project with him. He’s the right man for the type of football that Berlusconi likes and he has excellent ideas. Personally, though, I wouldn’t have sacked Sinisa Mihajlovic. The decision came too close to the end of the season.
“For what would I like to be remembered? My human side and my fair play. The technical discussion doesn’t interest me. How would I rate my career? I’d give my career a 7.5 out of 10, or an 8. I had ups and downs, but I never came short in the important games.
“What will I miss and what I won’t miss about being a player? I’ll miss the changing room like crazy. Not the disciplinary training camps though. I don’t like to feel in a cage at the age of 38.”