Theo Hernández was presented to the press on Friday, saying that he’s come to Milan to improve his defending and that his idols are Paolo Maldini and Marcelo.
It has been an eventful day for Theo, as in the morning he participated in the training friendly against Novara, in which he conceded a penalty but then also scored the equalizer (game ended 1-1).
Later, the left-back, who signed a five-year deal after arriving from Real Madrid for €20 million, was presented to the press:
“How am I fitting in and the first thoughts since joining Milan? Good morning everyone, I’m delighted to be here. I’m delighted with the welcome I’ve received here, so I’d like to thank everyone for this warm welcome. I feel very relaxed and I hope to play a lot of matches alongside my new teammates.
“How does it feel to be sat alongside a legend at left-back like Maldini and what did I think when I first spoke to him? I’m very proud to sit alongside Maldini, I think he was the best left back in the world, he was and he always will be. I saw him in Ibiza and he asked me how I was doing and how I was feeling and I was delighted to have met him there because he really explained very well what was going on and I explained that I wanted to come and play for Milan. Ever since we met in Ibiza, I kept my head down and kept working and developing as a footballer, and I think I’ve come to a club where I can really fulfil my goals. Milan is an historic club, I can grow a lot here.
“What were the magic words Maldini used in Ibiza to convince me to come? It was a lovely meeting, I don’t think I can actually reveal what he said to me, because that will remain between us. However, it was a nice meeting and I’m delighted to be here today.
“Who are my idols and players I look up to? When I was a kid I really looked up to Maldini, but I really like Marcelo and that’s been the case for a number of years now. I really like the way Marcelo plays, he is fantastic and at Real Madrid he gave me a huge amount of advice. And thanks to his tips I think I’ve developed further as a player. If I’m here then it’s also thanks to him. I try to watch him a great deal and I think I’ve developed a lot by trying to follow his game, and I think I’ve got huge room for improvement here.
“What advice would I like from Maldini and what would I like to ‘steal’ from him? I hope I can get a lot of advice from him, because that would be advice for a historic player, a legend of football who also played in the same position as me, so I’d like to receive advice, but advice not only on the pitch, also off it. I’m delighted with this morning’s friendly and with my goal, and I hope to score many more.
“The image of Milan from an external point of view? There’s an incredible, very positive image of Milan. It’s a club with a lot of history, a lot of tradition and I think there’s a very positive image. When I played for Real Madrid, I spoke about Milan and I said that I would have liked to play with the Rossoneri because it was such a history club. We hope to meet these expectations, I’ve come here to try and win trophies, that’s what I hope, and I hope to achieve it.
“If I’ve spoken to Luka Modrić, who has been linked with Milan? I’ve played with Luka but I haven’t heard anything. And even if I had heard something, to be honest I couldn’t tell you. If I believe Milan can challenge Real Madrid in the short term? As I said earlier on, Real Madrid is an outstanding club but I’ve come here at Milan because Milan is a top club. I’ve come here to do my job, namely to play football. I’ve come here, above all, to get my head down and work and give 100% in every game I play. I hope we can win a number of trophies together and we can put a smile on the fans’ face. And I hope we can keep pushing on upwards.
“Maldini said that he wants me to become a Top 3 fullback in the world? That has given me added motivation. When Maldini says something like that, I find it very exciting and as I said, I’ve come here to get my head down and work very hard. And like Maldini said, I need to try and become one of the Top 3 fullbacks in the world. In order to do that, I have to work very hard, train day-in day-out and aim for the top.
“Defensive duties? That was one of the reasons I’ve moved to Italy, namely to defend and to become a better defender. I still need to learn how to defend better. I’m a young player and this is my first season here and I still there’s still a long way to go. But that’s one of the reasons why I moved to Italy.
“What have I learned from the players at Real Madrid? Real players are absolutely top players, but I also believe that there are a lot of good players at Milan. These are two very good clubs. Sure, perhaps Real Madrid have different players compared to what we see here, they are differences. But I think I can contribute with my long-range shooting, with my pace, my abilities to beat players, but I’m also here to defend. I want to learn to defend here, I’m only 21 and I still have a long way to go and that’s why I’m here. But I’m pleased with the team and I’m very happy to be here.”