Suso has given a very extensive interview to Sky Italia, discussing his past, present and future.
Suso returned to training today and should be called-up for Sunday’s game against Parma after missing the Napoli game due to gastroenteritis.
The season of the Spaniard has been very difficult as he’s been unable to express himself on his usual level. However, Suso remains a key player for the Diavolo.
Speaking to Sky Italia, Suso discussed many different topics and revealed some interesting stories:
On Milan and the city of Milano: “The history of this club always pushes you to fight, giving the maximum. We are great here, I like the city and the people, the food… Italy is a country very similar to Spain and we are very happy here.”
On the pseudonym ‘Suso’: “My father was already called that and he is also Jesus like me. I don’t know why they called him that. When I was 7-8 years old and played football with my schoolmates, there was a guy who was always very nice and he started calling me ‘Suso’. From there, it stayed.”
On the dream of becoming a football: “I had a clear desire in my head to play football. When I went to school I answered ‘football’ to the question of what I wanted to be when I grow up. And my teachers laughed, saying I should say a profession. The dream has become true.”
On the importance of family: “If I have become a football player, in great it’s thanks to my family, because they’ve always been with me.”
On the decision to sign at Liverpool: “I was very sick for four months when I went to Liverpool at age of 17. At the time there was Rafa Benítez there and he usually would ask families if they wanted to be with their children. To me, he said that he would’ve preferred if I went to England alone without them. I had an agent who worked in my city and Real Madrid was interested in me before I went to Liverpool. Once day he called and told me that Real Madrid wanted to buy me, talked to my club at the time and found an agreement. I took the first plane and saw everything, Valdebebas [Real Madrid’s sports center], the school, where I would sleep with my teammates… I was one stay away from going, then on the same day he told me that Liverpool were there. At that time in Spain, it was rare and strange to see 18-19 year olds playing in La Liga. In England, however, there were much younger and there were different competitions like the FA Cup, the EFL Cup… Since I wanted to learn English, considering it is important for the future also as a personal culture, I chose Liverpool. I thought that there would always be time to play in Spain, while I didn’t know if there would be another chance to play at Liverpool.”
On the beginning of the experience at Liverpool: “I went at 17 years of age and at that age, to play, you have to wait for the transfer. So I was there for several months without playing and waiting for this document, which never arrived. I lived with an English family who worked for Liverpool and they were incredible. I was lucky with that too, but there was a moment when I came to talk to my dad and tell him I wanted to leave. I did the training sessions, all my teammates went to the game and I had to go home. It was a bad situation.”
On the first season at Liverpool with the debut as a starter in the first team: “In that year , I always played as a winger on the right. It was all very fast. I did the pre-season with the first team, with Brendan Rodgers as coach. But then, on my way back from Boston, I was sent to train with the reserves. After a few days of training, the day before a game, the coach said to me: ‘Are you ready?’, and I said ‘Ready for what?’… He said to me: ‘Tomorrow you will be playing with Sterling’, who was also coming from the Youth Sector like me. When I played the first game, after 20 minutes I was dead because I had only trained for a week with their intensity and rhythm… everything was different. I remember playing 60 minutes and Luis Suárez scored a hat-trick [Norwich 2-5 Liverpool].”
On Anfield: “It is one of the best stadiums for me: people go to watch the games and they really watch the games. The stadium is incredible and I got on well with those fans in those two years.”
On the loan to Almeria: “At that time the Americans, who had taken control of the club, began buying several players. I wondered what was best for me: whether to stay for another year at Liverpool and play another 15 games or go to Spain and play 30. There were several teams I could’ve gone to, because at Liverpool I had done very well. I thought maybe it would have been better to go to a smaller team and get used to playing all the games. It was like that: I was very happy there and I also met my wife, so I was very happy. When it was six months before I got back to Liverpool, they called ne to reassure me that when I got back to England they’d give me a contract.”
On the move to Milan: “When I returned to Liverpool to begin pre-season, I felt that something had changed and I realized that they would not renew my contract. In a Champions League game where I should’ve played as a starter, I got hurt warming up by kicking on goal, feeling an incredible pain in the adductor. I needed surgery and had to stay still for three months. It was only six months before my contract expired. My agent called me and told me that there was an option to go to Milan at the end of the year. I told him that I would’ve liked it very much, because I thought it was another very big club with a lot of history. But I didn’t like the idea of waiting until June. I came here to Milan to do the medical check-ups and then I met Galliani and I said: ‘I do not want to go back to Liverpool and I want to stay here at Milan’. At that point, Galliani said to me: ‘OK, do not worry’. The next day my agent called me and told me that Galliani had done everything and so, if I wanted, I could go to Milan.”
On the transfer to Genoa on loan: “It was a complicated situation for Milan, because I didn’t play. I felt that I was fine and I could help my teammates so I decided to go on loan for six months in Italy to prove my worth. Genoa was the right destination, also because Niang had gone there, had done very well there and had spoken well to me of the coach [Gasperini]. I went to Genoa and found incredible teammates and a very strong coach who knows what he wants to do. I made myself available and learned what he wanted. There were very good six months and then in the derby against Sampdoria I scored a brace.”
On the first year at Milan: “I wanted to leave because I wanted to play, in was the period in which Montella had arrived. The sporting director of Celta Vigo had come [to see him]. We were coming out of the locker room towards the field and there was my agent with the director of sport, and Montella went by saying: ‘I tell you now, this one is not going anywhere’. Talking to him, he told me that he wanted me to stay, that I was doing a very good job and that I would play with him. Montella was very important for me, because in character we think in a very similar way: he is a tranquil person who likes to play football. He has the same style as me.”
On the best moments at Milan: “I think the best moment was the first Milano derby I played. I scored two goals, even though we eventually drew. I remember it was November and it was my birthday. It was a special week because my whole family was there, a day I will always remember.”
On the bet to go home by foot: “I lived in Gallarate then and it was my first derby. They gave me an interview and asked me what I would be willing to do to score a brace against Inter. When I scored the second half, I went to celebrate at the corner and Bacca came and shouted to me: ‘Now go home by foot’. Then Inter drew and I used that excuse – inventing that the bet was for Milan to win in addition to my winning brace – in order to not go home to Gallarate by foot.
On Gattuso: “I had seen him a couple of times with the Primavera. I remember when I was a child I saw him on TV and there was that Milan full of Champions. There was that thing that we weren’t working on with Montella, so when he arrived we started off strong immediately. I remember that in the first training session he made us take the group picture and I remember thinking: ‘If we do this all year round, on Sunday I will not even shoot on goal’. Then, on the contrary, it was quite the opposite. In him I found a person with whom I built a splendid human relationship, so much so that even today I often talk to him. If he has something to say to you in the face then he tells you, whether it’s pretty or ugly. And the way he says it to you gets inside you and I think it’s very important in football. I was sorry to say goodbye to him because we had a very good human relationship.”
On Pioli: “I didn’t know him. I played against him when he was coaching Inter and Fiorentina. When he arrived, he reminded me a lot a lot of Gattuso because he likes to talk, he asks you what you think or how you are. Today in football the psychological aspect is very important and I think he works a lot on this, for the short time that I’ve known him.”
On the criticism of the fans: “People are always asking more and more of the strong players and I agree with that. I think I have to do much better this year. The responsibility is normal for important players. I didn’t get off to a good start this year. I don’t know when, after one, two or three games… but I’m sure I’ll get back to my level.”
On what didn’t work with Giampaolo: “Before the match against Lecce we were four points away from the Champions League, so we were close. The thing that makes me angry is that I didn’t see a team before… I don’t know, it was a strange thing. With Pioli I think it could be different.”
On the Spanish national team: “I think the Spanish national team is one of the most beautiful things there us. I was in the national team when there was the cycle of the World Cup and EURO’s, so I was with a stronger Spain. I would like to play in Spain because I played for only one year and I was very young. Another nice thing is that when I go back to Spain, people are very calm with me because I don’t play in that league so people don’t see me on TV all the time like here. The quality of life is very good.”
On the meeting with Kaká: “I went out to warm-up and I didn’t know he was there. When I went inside, we said goodbye and introduced ourselves. I liked everything about Kaká: the style, the class… he’s the one I would have liked to play with. The same goes for Gattuso, who everyone said that in the dressing room was amazing. Going back to Kaká, the other day I saw the game against Manchester United: it was all him, it was incredible. He was also a player that physically had more than others.”
On his dream: “My dream is to play the Champions League. I am 26-year-old and I have been playing all the games since I was 20, but I still couldn’t make a match in the Champions League. I think all strong players play the Champions League and a club like Milan must participate. When you play the Champions League, everything is different: the people, the team, the players, the strongest teams. It’s something I’d really like.”
On the Supercoppa Italiana with a penalty scored against Juventus after extra time: “Buffon was in goal and I had to shoot. That was to the penalty area was bad. Then I took the ball and kicked it in the middle, thinking he would choose a corner, and I scored.”