Hakan Çalhanoğlu has stated he wants to get to the Champions League, said he now has a lot of confidence, and spoke about his previous seasons at Milan.
This without a doubt has been Çalhanoğlu’s best season at Milan, as in 37 games he scored 11 goals and assisted 9 more in all competitions.
Hakan has been instrumental for Milan’s success since the Coronavirus lockdown and is a guaranteed starter for Stefano Pioli in attack, alongside Zlatan Ibrahimović and Ante Rebić.
The contract of Hakan expires next season and there have been some rumours about his future. Calha has made it clear that talks about him returning to Germany are fake news, and yesterday he spoke to Carlo Pellegatti on StarCasinò Sport and discussed many things:
The fans of starcasinò.sport have chosen you for this interview, you’re becoming an idol for the Rossoneri people. How happy does that make you?
“I love it, thanks everyone. I’m really happy, Carlo.”
Listen, this Milan side have had a complete change of course. I’m going to give you a figure: 28 goals in 26 games – the first 26 games; now it’s 28 goals in your last 10 games. What has changed?
“The coach and his staff have done great work in training. They spoke to us at home by phone and video chat [during the Coronavirus lockdown]. Then when we returned to Milanello, we trained hard every day. Looking back now, we all worked so hard together.”
You spoke about Pioli. How happy are you with Pioli’s new contract, which will keep him with you for the next few seasons. What has he given you in terms of technique, tactics and morale?
“He’s a very important person for me and also for the team. I think he’s a coach who listens, he wants to know what the players think, and he wants to know what the players think. I play the role he wants me to, in the role I prefer. We’re all happy that he’s renewed because it’s has not been easy for him either because there’s been a lot of… news, shall we say, but he’s a great professional and he only thinks about the team to take us as far forward as possible, and we’ve played for him too.”
You said you’ve changed positions but you seem like a player with a lot of trust. You’re confident, you play easy and simple, because you have trust. It’s another sign of your improvement. How much is this down to you, the coach or your teammates?
“Yep, that’s me, Carlo. I have a lot of trust because they believe in my qualities and I have to show them on the pitch. So, we’re doing something good together.”
What does it mean to become a leader of the squad, the reference point?
“I feel like a leader because I have a lot of confidence in myself, I’m not afraid of anything. But now we have other leaders, like Zlatan.”
We’ll talk about Zlatan later, but now I want to look back on for 22nd goal. You scored it from the same angle, maybe they told you, from which Beckham scored.
“I saw the video!”
Where do you rank the goal against Atalanta among the ones you’ve scored? It was really spectacular.
“Yeah, it was a goal that sticks with you. As you said, I saw Beckham’s goal, the same free kick. 11 years ago, right? Yeah, this will stay with me, even after I’ve stopped playing, a beautiful thing.”
Of your 23 goals, which is the best and which was the most important?
“The one against Torino, I think. When I started from the bench and then I came on and scored twice and we beat Torino.”
The most important one… there are beautiful goals and there are big goals. ‘Schwertor’…
“[Laughs] Big goal? I need to think, Carlo.”
Maybe… it was a difficult moment for Milan, I’ll suggest one: the first against Brescia. First game of the season at San Siro, a header, an important goal.
“Ah, from Suso’s cross, right, yes that’s true.”
Ibrahimović, is he really that ‘terrible’ with his teammates? What do you think of Zlatan?
“Zlatan is a great player, a great person. He’s got a great personality. When he arrived, he helped the whole team, he has a lot of passion. I hope he’s still with us next season because he’s a very important player for us.”
Speaking of Ibra, there’s another one of your teammates who has just hit 200 games: Gigio Donnarumma. But is he still young at 21-years-old or is he already old?
“Yes, Gigio… he’s another great player, a great character and a great guy. I really like playing with Gigio. He’s got a great mindset despite his young age, he already seems like an adult, I’m very happy for him as well. Hitting the milestone of 200 appearances for this team, I think he broke a red at Milan, right? So a big well done to him.”
Now let’s talk a bit more in general about you: what’s the biggest difference between the Çalhanoğlu from two seasons back, and the one who’s about to finish his third season in Rossoneri colors? What’s the biggest change?
“The difference is that in the first year, when I arrived here in Milano, I’d been out for six months before and it was very tough for me to come back physically. Then, understanding the Italian language, then even Serie A – the league – because it was so different from the Bundesliga. Here there are so many high-quality players and what’s more you have to feel in good shape on the pitch because they try and analyze your tactics, your movements, how you defend, how you attack. Then the second year, I grew under Rino, physically and I also learned a bit of the language. Now the third year has been my year. I’ve arrived, we’ll say, after three years, I’m here in Milano full of confidence.”
What do you like about the Italian league and what don’t you like as much? The best and the worst things about Serie A, if there are any…
“There aren’t bad things in football, Carlo. I like playing in Serie A because here there are so many players who are top quality, so many players, there are so many strong sides. In the Bundesliga it’s always Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and let’s say Leverkusen because I played for them [smiles], but here in Italy you have Lazio, Roma, Atalanta, Juventus, Napoli… there are so many strong teams. That’s the difference between the Bundesliga and Italy.”
When you were young, who was your idol, the player you had a poster of in your room? I don’t know if you had posters but the player you loved the most as a kid…
“I always loved Ronaldinho, his elastic, all of his skills, he was incredible.”
And today, who’s your favorite Italian player, excluding Milan players, and who’s your favorite foreign player playing in Italy?
“You said no Milan players, right? Alright then I’d say Dybala, Douglas Costa…”
What do you like about Milano and Italy in general? Do you like it here?
“I really like the people in Italy because they’re similar to our people in Turkey. Then, the best thing… the food in Italy is incredible. I really like it.”
What’s your favorite dish? What do you like eating in Milano? Any food or dish?
“Well I won’t say spaghetti because spaghetti’s normal so I’ll say Risotto all Milanese.”
What’s your favorite hobby?
“Nothing, playing with my little girl. My time is spent with here, always, every day.”
How old is she?
“She’s now one and a half. When we finish training, I go home and do another session with her [laughs].”
We’ll round off with this question: what’s your dream as a professional player and as a Milan player?
“My dream, I think it’s the same as the others… we’ve been waiting 6-7 years to be back in the Champions League, our objective always has to be the Champions League. We’ve now qualified for the Europa League, let’s hope that next season we’ll be in the Champions League, with Milan.”
You can’t wait to hear the Champions League music at your first…
“I miss it so much. And then… staying fit physically is another dream of mine.”