Mike Maignan spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport after joining Milan.
Maignan is the first summer signing of Milan, coming from Lille for €13m + €2m bonuses to replace Gianluigi Donnarumma who will walk as a free agent.
MM16, who is currently with the French national team preparing for EURO 2020, signed a five-year contract after winning the league title with Lille.
The 25-year-old, who kept 21 clean sheets in the past season (the most in Europe) spoke yesterday about his move, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Alessandro Grandesso:
“I chose Milan after talking to Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara. I liked their talk because it is a big, ambitious, project that suits me perfectly. So I decided to sign, also because after so many seasons and so many emotions experienced at Lille – it was time to change.”
Do you feel a little more pressure coming after Donnarumma, who has been a flag bearer for Milan?
“Milan is a great team and it’s normal that in general there is more pressure than at Lille. But I don’t land with the idea of making Donnarumma be forgotten. He remains an important player in the history of the club. I just want to do my job and give my best for this jersey.”
You meet Ibrahimović again, who you know from your time at PSG, and also Leão who preceded you by a couple of seasons…
“There was already a good relationship with Zlatan then, I know he will welcome me just as well at Milan which is a great club with many great players. It’s a good team and I think there will be no problems for me to settle in. Also thanks to Rafael with whom I’ve talked in these days.”
Has Rabiot, with whom you trained at PSG and meet again in the national team, given you any advice, perhaps regarding the Italian language?
“For now I don’t speak Italian yet, but Adrien is already teaching me a few words. I listen to him, he explains their meaning to me and I try to learn. I will be taking lessons this summer, but only after the EUROs that I’m very focused on. I’m happy that with Milan things went fast, also to close the Lille chapter which allowed me to get here.”
Does signing at Milan and facing your first EUROs mean that you are experiencing a crucial moment in your career?
“I certainly feel a lot of happiness, and it doesn’t happen often. I hope to experience other moments like this. But the important thing is to stay focused and live day by day.”
Why did you choose Serie A when in recent years young French players have often preferred the Premier League or the Bundesliga?
“First of all, Milan is one of the great clubs in the world, with a great history and a great record, built also thanks to great players. As a young guy, I’ve always followed Milan matches. I’ve also spoken to Rabiot about Serie A: it’s a very tactical league and the training sessions are very intense, also physically. So it’s ideal for someone like me who wants to continue to improve, also at the mental level, which is a very important aspect. On this point I think I’ve made a lot of progress in the last two years.”
What convinced you in Maldini’s talk?
“I can’t tell you in detail what he said, but I understood that the project is really ambitious and will allow me to continue to progress. But I also know that I can bring something more to this team.”