Lucas Paquetá has spoken to Sky and to MilanTV ahead of the new season, saying ‘our objective must be first place’.
The Rossoneri play their last pre-season game on Saturday as they face Cesena at Stadio Dino Manuzzi (20:30 CEST). Then, the real thing begins – Serie A.
Milan have gone through some changes in the summer but it’s clear that a key player in this campaign would be Lucas Paquetá, who joined the club from Flamengo in January and impressed greatly.
“How was my return to Milanello? I’m feeling better and better in training,” Paquetá said in an interview with MilanTV. “Of course it takes a little time because I came back after the rest of the team, but I am doing my part well, trying to be in the best physical condition possible so that when the league begins I can be ready to help the team.
“How was winning the Copa América? It’s a dream come true, to be able to wear the shirt of the Seleção, and also to win a trophy in our own country, even though I didn’t play too much. I’m only 21-year-old and this is just the beginning of a long path, I think I’ve made a good start. I hope to do my job well at Milan, to achieve great things and get back in the national side.
“What kind of coach is Giampaolo? He’s a great coach, who gives us a lot of information. His playing style is a bit different to what I’m used to. Every day in training I try my best to understand this new way of playing, so I can be able to do what he wants and perform in the best way.
“How was reuniting with Léo Duarte? First of all, he’s an excellent person, a true professional who is always willing to learn. He’s a fast, quality player who loves to have the ball at his feet, and who understands his role in the team well. Of course at first, it’s going to be a bit tough for him in training, but that’s normal because he doesn’t speak the language and I get it.
“But, I’ll help him as much as possible and I’m sure that he’ll help us a lot as well. What have I told him about Milan? I said he would find a giant club just like Flamengo is in Brazil, Milan are recognized worldwide. Here, people are willing to help you and make you grow as a player. I told him not to have any fear, that he would be in good hands and that we’ll achieve a lot together and help Milan achieve great things.
“What do I expect from the new Milan? I think every new player coming to Milan needs to add to what is already being done. Now with a new coach, with new ideas, I believe that Milan are even stronger and will really fight to win titles and the long-awaited place back in the Champions League.”
Paquetá also had an interview with Sky Italia: “San Siro? Playing at San Siro is very emotional. When I watched Kaká, I was thinking about how good it was. When I watched players in there, I imagined myself in their place. It was always very emotional, playing there is incredible. I would like to enter San Siro many more times. My idol? Kaká is my idol, he was always my idol.
“All the players who’ve been at Milan were hard-workers. I hope to imitate them and become a winner with this shirt. Milan is a great club known all over the world, in Brazil it’s a point of reference. Whoever plays at Milan is a Champion, it’s a club that has won seven Champions League titles.
“Gattuso? He was a person who taught me a lot. He is and he was a player of great achievements. As a coach he helped me a lot to adapt, he’s a person who gave me a lot, teaching me many things. Giampaolo? He is, for me, a true teacher. He has new ideas and he is precise in transmitting them. He modified the way of playing in the way and in the formation, both in attack and in defense. He is attentive to everything and this allows us to play well.
“The current squad? As of today, the team has great players and has achieved great results. We deserve the Champions League, we must return to winning it by playing good football. We must aim high, we must not settle for fourth or second place. Our objective must be first place.
“How is it going with the Italian language? I still have some difficulties with it, even if I now understand it. I continue to study the language, to speak it and understand it better. The Brazilian then tried to say a few words in Italian: “Un saluto a tutti i tifosi del Milan, prometto una bella stagione [Greetings to all the Milan fans, I promise a good season].”