Gattuso: “We start from an important basis but I hope new signings will come, the real objective for next season is to find tranquility from a corporate point of view, I see Halilović as a mezz’ala, I like Zaza? We already have Cutrone”

Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (
Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (

Gennaro Gattuso spoke at length on the first day of pre-season, making it clear that due to all the corporate issues, goals haven’t really been set for next season and it’s not certain that there will be new signings. Rino also discussed Kalinić, Silva, Fiori-Magni and more.

The preparations for the new season started today for Milan, as the players (excluding the ones who played in the 2018 World Cup in Russia) returned to the Diavolo for the first day of training.

The first training day is usually accompanied by enthusiasm and desire to see the team back on the pitch but this time the sensations are different due to the massive confusion that comes from the corporate affairs at Milan. According to the vast majority of reports, Elliott Management is set to take over the club and the Chinese era at the club is coming to an end after just over a year, as President Yonghong Li missed a payment and therefore is destined to see the club get taken away from him.

These issues, together with the fact that Milan’s mercato is practically non-existent, as they need to sell before they can buy, mean that the spirits of the fans are not as high as they could’ve been.

With all this considered, today Gattuso and Mirabelli faced the press at Milanello.

“The points won last year? That’s the past, we have to look to the future,” Gattuso said to a room full of journalists. “We didn’t change a lot and I’m sure that we will have other signings and afterwards Mirabelli will speak, but we must start and restart with great enthusiasm, the alibies are set aside, the issues are set aside, we are here to sweat and work and afterwards we will see where we arrive or going to arrive, but we must believe – strongly believe – in what we do. We had some issues, we had some problems, but our duty is to prepare for the season at best.

“I was running during the physical tests too? I live football, I’m just like this, I can’t change, and I can stay in strong contact with my guys and hit the ground running with them. Sometimes it’s useful, sometimes it’s not, but it’s my personal characteristic.

Gennaro Gattuso during a press conference at Casa Milan on July 9, 2018. (
Gennaro Gattuso during a press conference at Casa Milan on July 9, 2018. (

“The sensations and the difficulties at the start of the season when you have a team of which you don’t know who are the players that will continue, who will be the new signings and this air of change in ownership? I always say the truth, these were 50 difficult days, also for me, and I can assure you that I had worse moments as a coach in other clubs, I’m used to it, but I’m convinced and I’m sure that things can improve and will improve. I have heard and listened to many rumours over these 50 days that players want to go away, but to date no player has come to me or called me or went to the President – maybe some agents did, I don’t talk to them – but I’ve heard no player ask me to go away. We are restarting from an important basis, with an important group of top players and then we will see how this club will be strengthened or not, but we start from a very good basis.

“Fans say that the only certainty at Milan is Gattuso? I feel the pressure, but I’m not worried. I’m sure that I can’t do everything on my own, this is a very important. To say the truth, this club has had some issues, but I wish to ensure you again that from economic and a financial point of view, we never lacked anything, maybe one week delay for the payments, but from a structural point of view, we never lacked anything. The people around me, the people working for the club, have always been fine. The fact that the President isn’t in touch with the top management makes it all more difficult, but I believe that in this moment we must honor this club and we must do our best to make it work at best, and I’ll do my best. I feel this pressure, but I like it. In these months, I always put my face out there, because I’m the first fan of this club, I’m the coach, I’m the head of the fans and for me it’s an honor to coach such a team and I’m happy. I’m not worried and I will do my best.

Riccardo Montolivo, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Luca Antonelli during training at Milanello. (
Riccardo Montolivo, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Luca Antonelli during training at Milanello. (

“If we will live day by day or we already know where we want to get? We have a strong group and to strengthen this team, both Mr. Fassone and Mr. Mirabelli know what type of players I like. We start from a very important basis, I hope new signings will come because I think there’s a need for it, but I can stay also like this, there’s no problem. We are aware that other teams there were already top teams have already strengthened.

“The department that needs strengthening, considering the fact that it will be a self-financed market and we can’t expect big negotiations? [Laughs] I’ve always said that we need an alternative for our wingers, a mezz’ala [side midfielder] with the same characteristics as Kessié, and then we’ll see. Let’s not forget that we have four forwards – Bacca, Kalinić, André Silva and Cutrone, let’s see what the transfer window will say. If no forward leaves then we’re not going to look for other forwards.

“The physiological effect of corporate issues taking away what we do on the pitch? From today our objective is to prepare ourselves. We’ll know the CAS ruling on July 19th, but we will have to start our pre-season with the idea that we’re going to participate in the Europa League. We must start with the conviction that we’re going to play in the Europa League.

“If the club has asked me for specific targets this year? Do you think that with all the issues the club has asked me for targets? After May 20th, I was at Casa Milan everyday talking with Mirabelli, with the CEO. In two of the occasions, there was also David Li, we spoke about what we had to do. Then I went on holiday, I spoke 4-5 times with Fassone, but we haven’t talked about objectives yet, because there are more important issues to be solved.

Gianluigi Donnarumma during training at Milanello. (
Gianluigi Donnarumma during training at Milanello. (

“If I’m happy that we have two top goalkeepers in Pepe Reina and Gigio Donnarumma? The one who is better will play. It’s better to have two top players than not having a top goalkeeper. It will be my problem, it will be difficult for me to choose but it’s fantastic.

“The situation with the strikers as we want to relaunch André Silva after not a perfect season? It’s the pitch that will talk. We’ll see. You were talking about André Silva, but I’ll talk to you about Bacca. I hope he will arrive with the will to sweat, not with the idea that he has to leave, and then if he finds another solution it’s OK, but if he stays here, he has to stay here like I want him to stay. But this also applies to other players. André Silva knows that in this moment, after one year, I want him to give higher performances, because he has the characteristics, he’s a good player, what he did last year is not enough, so he has to train, he has to sweat, he has to be available. And then, I don’t know who will be in the line-up, it’s the pitch and what happens on the pitch. In my mind, I know what they can give to me, what the four strikers can give to me. I know it. Kalinić, for the movements he makes, the cleanness and the cleverness, makes himself the only one [in the squad] while the other forwards have different characteristics, so when you look for something, you look for the best.

Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (
Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (

“What I think about Buffon going to Paris Saint-Germain [he officially joined them this week]? I never thought that Gigi, at 40-years-old, would continue being a protagonist for a team like PSG, a team that is currently one of the top teams in Europe. And I was surprised, because if I remember, in 2010, he had problems with his back and everyone was saying he was finished. And now we’re here talking about Gigi, at 40-year-olds, going to play for one of the top teams in Europe.

“Alen Halilović [who arrived to Milan from Hamburg on a free transfer]? I see him as a mezz’ala, with different characteristics to Kessié. I’m not kidding, he played some matches as a mezz’ala, with less runs but with greater technical qualities. If you put him right, he can do well.

“If we saw any interesting player at the World Cup in Russia? [Smiles] We don’t have to go to Russia to meet players or to see players, but before Mirabelli said something important: we have to sign players who can grant improvement to this squad, if not then it’s useless. Now, who the new signings will be – if they are going to arrive – they will have to have specific characteristics, not only technical and tactical, but also human characteristics, because maybe sometimes when you spend €40m, €60m, €70m, you don’t think about the human part of the player and his character. The human part is  important for me, because I have to work with him, I have to look at him. What type of professional he is, and when we talk about players, it’s an important element for me.

“The corporate issues? Thanks God I’m only the coach. Since I’ve been here, I’m only to coach, there are many professionals here and I spend my time only when we talk on technical and tactical levels. In other clubs I was more than a coach, but since three days ago, I’ve been every day to Milanello, we talk only about football, we are preparing for the season and the training camps, and all the anxieties just go away, I do what I like. The worst moment was when I was on my own, after the time with the kids and my wife I started harassing Mirabelli [laughs].

Yonghong Li at Mondo Milan Museum at Casa Milan on August 28, 2017. (
Yonghong Li at Mondo Milan Museum at Casa Milan on August 28, 2017. (

“Plan B on the pitch for next season? Yes, we’re going to start from where we finished, but we’ll start to work on new concepts and we will work on these things. Maybe a 3-man defense during the course of matches, but the midfield will have three players and then we’re thinking about some changes.

“The fact that Kalinić was sent away from the Croatian squad [the question was originally given to Mirabelli but Gattuso asked to answer in this place]? I spoke with Nikola. I can tell you that when he left Milanello, he was always suffering from some physical problems during training, and when he went away from here [to Russia], he had this physical problem. But the problem is that he didn’t talk, and he was not honest with his NT coach. And when you have an NT coach, you have to do the best, because if not then there’s a lack of respect from the teammates and from the coach. This problem came out, I spoke with him and I can ensure you that it’s not easy to train Nikola, but he’s a very sensitive guy, doesn’t hold a grudge. And when he sees that people around him always speak to him then he knows how to behave. And I think his biggest error was that he wasn’t honest with the coach.

“If Simone Zaza is a player that I like [it is believed that Milan will try to get him if Kalinić leaves]? We already have someone like him – Patrick Cutrone. He’s similar, with less experience but he’s similar. We repeat again: today, the priority is to talk about our strikers. Then if someone of these four forwards wants to leave, it’s OK, but to date we have no ideas to purchase new attackers.

Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (
Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (

“If and when there’s a change in ownership, would I want to have the same relationship with the same sporting director [Mirabelli]? We are a couple that works from morning to night, we confront each other, but it’s always respectful, we look each other in the eyes. We don’t need to convince one another, we do things for Milan’s benefit, to improve things and maybe we can make some mistakes, but before we make mistakes, we insult each other, sometimes in Calabrian dialect, sometimes in English because I’ve started talking in English. But we talk between ourselves to improve.

“The decision to replace goalkeepers coach Alfredo Magni with [former Milan goalkeeper and trainer] Valerio Fiori? There is also Gigi Ragno, who has worked here for five years with the same methodology as Magni. Gigi Ragno was in the Youth Sector. Now all the people at Milan are all people who’ve worked here for 10 years, I preferred to make this choice because I cannot waste time explaining how things work here. With Magni we lost a great professional, there’s nothing against him but I think that at this moment, it was both my and the club’s choice. We looked for a professional like Valerio, who already knew Milan, but there’s nothing against Magni as a professional and a man, it was only my choice and the club’s choice.

“Everyone thinks that Bacca is going to leave? Bacca has a price, the club gave it to him and if they don’t find an agreement then he’ll come back here and be part of the squad. I hope he will come here with great will, great commitment and I will work also with Bacca. But if he arrives and then I’ll have to start to convince him, then no way… if he comes here, he puts on the Milan jersey, he represents Milan and he trains as well as everyone else. Last year he scored 18 goals in all competitions at Villarreal, why not keep him instead? If he needs some cuddles and hugs, I have no problem…

Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (
Gennaro Gattuso during training at Milanello. (

“What is the objective for next season: Champions League or Europa League? The real objective is to find tranquility from all points of view, from a corporate point of view, for our fans to live day by day quietly. We have to hope for this and we have to start working on the objectives, get enthusiasm. It’s easy for me to say that our objective is to get to the Champions League, but it’s difficult.

“Let’s wait one second, let’s start and make as little mistakes as possible and see where we arrive, what type of mercato we’ll do and when you see me again, I ask me the same question.”


  1. Lord have mercy ! So bad that my Milan is going thru all this non sense. I just hope Milan survive this mess. Otherwise . It will go down in history that Bellisconi is the one ruin this club .

  2. These are really hard times for milan. Seeing that we can’t get a single assurance on any topic discussed by Mirabelli or Gattuso. We would need mercy to survive this season.

  3. See how he smartly defended Kalinic. It will really do every body good if Kalinic leaves because if he stays Gattuso will hardly bench him.Now it seems so obvious that Berlusconi had some things under his sleeves otherwise considering his love for the club, he would have sold to someone with a solid financial base. Well I see light at the end of the tunnel, as focus will no longer be on us and then we can spring surprises because the squad will gel properly and give away less points as against last year and we will find continuity with our coach. On Halilovic.I think given our condition now, that is the type of gamble we need to make, because they have higher tendency of success than failure, considering also that they come at no extra cost.

  4. Up till this minute, Bellisconi has not said a word….further suggesting that there is something shady about the whole thing

  5. Comment:@Patrick no need for history books
    Berlusconi ruined Milan..we just have to pray for a better tomorrow… Forza Milan

  6. Have anyone read the interview?

    Quoting Gattuso:

    “To say the truth, this club has had some issues, but I wish to ensure you again that from economic and a financial point of view, we never lacked anything, maybe one week delay for the payments”

    A week delay in payment is enough for me

    • Yh me too, it shows clearly we are serious shit if the club sales delays. I also read today that we need to let a player( borini)go to balance the 7mil we owe Lazio in the biglia deal. I mean wat the f**k??? Trust me it won’t be borini is gonna be someone more valuable, cos Lazio won’t take shit.

  7. I see Gattuso as the new Jose Maurinho if he can improve in technical and tactical aspect with brilliant match plan and game reading and wise sub of Ancelloti and Guadiola than just being a disciplinary and grit coach….

    Wish him and the boys great success for the new season and hope we have a favorable fixtures and injuries won’t do us damage .. ForzaMilan

  8. With legendary Milanistas (Gattuso and Maldini…) takeplace troublemaker Interistas, hope everything will be better in the future!

  9. Berlusconi should be prosecuted one way or the other for this. Nobody invests over €1bn in one year and loses it because of €32m, fraud written all over this deal.

    • Hey Jibola
      I agree with that. It makes absolutely zero sense for someone to splash a billion quid and then default on €32m! Its peanuts in the grand scheme of things
      How could someone buy a club like Milan and then not have the resources necessary to simply run the day to day things? Maybe the electricity will be shut off next!!!!

  10. When it becomes official that Elliott is taking over i seriously doubt they’ll sell anyone because there devaluing there clubs worth and these guys don’t need to do that to balance books
    Its also been suggested in the media that there accelerating plans to include Maldini in an important role, in my opinion it would obviously be better not to have hedge fund owners but in all honesty I’d take anybody over Li and surly its better he’s gone
    Who knows maybe Elliott could even give a transfer fund to increase the value, they know it would be a lot easier sell a champions league club not to mention a lot more valuable

  11. I honestly doubt Li will sell Milan, it does not make sense. I doubt there will be any takeover, Li just want people who can invest in the club like all other clubs do. The problem is that most of the people who came forward want majority shares and from my view they are crazy no one would accept that. I think Li knows exactly what he is doing.

    Remember the management made it clear towards the end of the season that we will buy atleast 3 important players. So for sure there’s money plus Li can just take from the profit he got from last season.

  12. Meeting set for Thursday in Casa Milan where 4 new board members are coming in to replace the Chinese guys and it couldn’t come any sooner



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