Rade Krunić has spoken about Marco Giampaolo, the welcome he’s received and the kind of player he is.
Krunić joined Milan from Empoli for €8 million and has so far mostly trained separately from the squad as he’s working to recover from an injury he suffered at the end of the last season.
However, the player will fly with the squad for the United States Tour and should be available to play soon. Today, the 25-year-old Bosnian was presented to the press.
“How am I fitting in and the first thoughts since joining Milan? First and foremost, good morning! I’d like to thank you for coming here this morning,” Krunić told reporters at Milanello. “I’ve had some wonderful first impressions just like I expected it to be. Milan is a massive club and I’d like to be honest – this is exactly what I expected. I’ve received a really warm welcome so far and I can’t wait to become a part of the squad and start playing matches for the Rossoneri.
“What type of player I am? I think I’m a modern mezz’ala. In midfield I can get forward and I can also defend, I’m a box-to-box midfielder as the English say. People always used to say I have a similar playing style to Marek Hamšík but I think he’s a bit more technical and I have better physical qualities. My idol has always been Kaká but he plays more as a trequartista and I play a little bit back as a mezz’ala. I try to watch Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City as much as possible and I think we have similar attributes.
“Giampaolo’s playing style? I’ve known Marco for four years now, he was my first coach here in Italy. I see in his training sessions that he has not changed a great deal, he still has a footballing vision and he’s very attached to it, it means a lot to him. I think us players can have fun with Giampaolo because he’s a coach who likes to see his side keep the ball and I think we young players can develop a great deal under the guidance of Giampaolo. I think I can do very well and I think Giampaolo has deserved this opportunity because he did a very good job both at Empoli and Sampdoria. And I hope that he will do a very good job here at Milan.
“If I believed when I met Giampaolo four years ago that he would arrive in Milan in such a short space of time and if he promised he’d take me with him? Yes, I believed right from the start. It was a childhood dream of mine, when I moved to Italy it was towards making it to this level of football. As for Giampaolo, we never really spoke about anything like that, on whether he could’ve brought me to a big club, but I’m delighted that it has occurred here at Milan. I could have moved to Sampdoria in the past, there was a chance of that happening and obviously it didn’t come to pass, whereas now it has. So I’m happy that we’ve waited for this moment in time and we’ve both joined a top club.
“If I think Bennacer is ready to join a club like Milan? Yes, I think he is. I’ve never spoken to anyone about Bennacer, I’ve only spoken to the director at Empoli; before I moved to Milan I asked him every now and then how on earth it was possible that a player like Bennacer was playing for a club like Empoli. I think he is a terrific player and I think he is very ready to make the step-up to a club of this level. I’ve played with a couple of players who play the regista role like him, I played with Leandro Paredes, in the national team with Miralem Pjanić, and I have to say that Bennacer is very similar to their level of play. If he were to join Milan, I’d be very pleased and I think he can do a very good job here, if he were to sign for Milan.
“My strengths and weaknesses? As you said, I think I’m a relatively mature player now. I have developed a great deal. I was lacking a few elements to my game when I first moved to Italy and in the first two years here I wasn’t particularly good in the final-third, I wasted a lot of chances, and I think I’ve made strides in that area last season. As for my strengths, a bit of everything – technically, physically, I think I can contribute a great deal on the pitch, particularly in regards to making some lung-busting runs, getting forward with pace, I think that’s my main strength.
“My physical condition and if I’m 100%? I’m a lot better than I was. I’ve already started to train a little bit with the squad, I might have already been able to resume full training with the group but I don’t want to take too many chances with that, because I had a muscle pull and it’s important that you don’t actually worsen the condition of that. But I will be back amongst the squad in the first few days of the United States Tour.”
After the presentation, Rade also spoke to Sky Italia: “My arrival? I knew of Milan’s interest, Aurelio Andreazzoli also told me that Milan had been following me. I was happy, my agent also talked about it. I had many offers, but Milan is something different.
“Giampaolo? The coach will be able to do well here as well, in fact he can do even better because the players are stronger. With his style of play we can do great things and bring Milan back into the Champions League. The year at Empoli with Giampaolo? I made my debut with Marco against Sassuolo and I played as a trequartista. The first goal came in the third match against Genoa.
“The number 33? I also had it at Empoli, it’s a number that I’ve always liked. I saw that Caldara had changed his number so I got it. My idols? De Bruyne is not my idol, but I resemble him in my characteristics. My idols were Kaká, Fabregas and Ronaldinho. I don’t think I’m similar to Hamšík.
“Bennacer [who today plays the AFCON final]? When he arrived at Empoli, I immediately saw that he was strong. But in the last two years he’s grown a lot. He did very well as a regista last season. He has something more and different that others don’t have. He is ready for the big jump.
“The decision to go to Milan? I’ve been a Milan fan for years, I didn’t care who was on the bench. Then, Giampaolo arrived and I’m very happy with it. I’m happy to be able to work with him again.”