Yacine Adli was presented to the press today, and he spoke about what kind of player he is and about his first feelings.
Adli signed for Milan last summer and after playing a year in Ligue 1 with Bordeaux, he started his Rossoneri career last week, arriving at Milanello.
Today the 21-year-old was presented to the press at the training center:
You started your adventure at Milanello. After a week, how are you feeling? How does it feel to be at Milanello and especially with Mister Pioli?
“I’ve settled in very well already at Milanello, it does feel like a great big family. We all work very hard together. Everyone is ready, together, to push for the greatest and best results. I definitely perceived this family atmosphere and I’m delighted to be here.”
A few days ago Pioli said ‘we will discover Adli over the coming weeks’. But, Milan play with this 4-2-3-1, do you feel more like a two-man midfielder or a trequartista?
“I’d say I’m ready to play wherever the Coach needs me to play. I can cover any role in midfield. In my first week, the Coach tried me in different positions. The only thing that matters to me is to play, to be out on the field, wherever the Coach chooses to field me.”
What impressed you about last season’s campaign? Is there a moment that stayed with you? And is there a player from Milan’s history – French or not – you would like to emulate?
“I followed the team very closely. All the games that they’ve played. I saw great strength in the team, the collective, the squad, especially in the final stages of the games where no mistakes can be afforded. I saw them work really hard to avoid making mistakes. It’s a really strong and solid group. As for players I’d like to emulate, I can say there’s no specific French player but I trained with Timothy Weah, the son of George Weah, and he always told to look to Roberto Baggio as an example, to study how he played because I could learn a lot and that is what I did.”
You talked about a great player like Baggio and you idolized Zinedine Zidane. But how did you study him? Have you perhaps stolen any secrets from him?
“Obviously we are talking about great players – Roberto Baggio, Zidane… what I can say is that these great players are to be examined, to be studied, to be admired. But they are the greatest Champions. I believe it’s important to create my own journey and work hard to improve every day.”
Could you describe yourself? What type of midfielder are you?
“I’d say that as a midfielder I’m a bit atypical because I carry out the role in different positions. Among my best qualities are certainly good passing, I’m good in the final pass and I have good vision. I can always find my space in a situation of play. I know how to communicate well with my teammates, and I’d say those are my qualities but I’m here to improve.”
What was last season like knowing that you are a Milan player but you were at Bordeaux at a very particular season? How did you take to the field every game knowing you’d be joining Milan at the end of the season?
“It definitely wasn’t easy, yet I tried to always stay focused on what my role was in that moment and to play to my best for my team; at the time Bordeaux. Even though in my head I was always thinking about Milan, I was always focused on reaching Milan in the best conditions to give the most I could to Milan.”
You’re already well-acquainted with some of the Milan players like Bennacer. Did you speak to them to ask what Milan is? And what impressions have you had after your first week of training with Coach Pioli and your teammates?
“Well I’m definitely very happy to have teammates I already knew, some French. We are all here to prepare for the best of our abilities, I’m here to get settled in, to get adapted to the new situation and to give my best.”
Could you tell us about your association – how it started, what its objective is? And are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved so far in your project?
“I care deeply for my association, it’s always been close to my heart. I wanted to do it for my hometown, to give the opportunity to the youngsters who are in difficult situations and allow them to know what I had the chance to know. We do a lot of things, we do them together with my family and friends, who help me. But it’s something I’m very proud of, I handle it personally and there are some really nice initiatives.”
The French players who arrived here have proven to be very good: from Maignan to Theo Hernández to Giroud… what is your objective for the Club and personally?
“It’s true that they’ve all done very well, my French teammates. They adapted very well to the Club and the new situation. I join with a different experience. I have a lot of ambition, but I join the Champions of Italy, so it’s a top-level team. I propose myself with humility and respect and the intention of improving and growing to reach the highest objectives.”
We’ve noticed that you understand some questions in Italian very well and you’ve had a year to study the language… Have you chosen your shirt number already?
“[Speaking in Italian] I understand everything but it’s a bit more difficult to speak. I hope that in 2-3 months I’ll be able to do interviews in Italian. As for the number, I don’t know…”
As you said, you followed Milan last season. At what point did you believe Milan could win the Scudetto and why did they win?
“A team as successful as Milan cannot not aim for the title every season and they managed to do it this year in a very difficult league because in Italy the competition is very hard. There are a lot of tough challengers. This year we’ll try to defend our title, we’ll do our best to do so.”
Today Juventus presented Pogba, who is a player quite similar to you. Is there anything you try to emulate from him, that he inspires you? Would you like to emulate him on an international or domestic level?
“As you said, Pogba is a top-level player who’s had a great career but I think it’s best to focus on yourself and that’s what I want to do. I want to focus on my own journey, to improve as much as I can and to give my best in my daily work to take on the challenge of this journey at Milan.”
Have you seen any differences between the French and Italian leagues?
“The French league is one where we play very strongly with a lot of physical contact. The Italian league is more technical and tactical. But I have to admit that I haven’t experienced it yet, I’ll have to experience it on the field, which is the most important thing – because when you play football that is when you give your best.”
In your life you’ve also experienced other sports and passions. So why did you choose football and what did you take from these other disciplines into football?
“I’d say that football is what guides my life: I wake up every day thinking about football, I go to bed thinking about football and I eat football. For me, it’s my daily bread. It’s a great passion I’ve had since I was very young and now being able to be a professional player is a dream come true and I hope I can do my best and that football will reward me for the efforts I make.”
You’re young but a very well-balanced player in the way you talk and communicate. Are you afraid in a good sense? Do you think you’ll become emotional or excited with your first game at San Siro? Meeting the fans, meeting Ibrahimović? What can you not wait to do?
“That’s a lovely question: there will be many great emotional moments. The first game at San Siro obviously… it’s such a mythical stadium, legendary stadium, as La Scala del Calcio. As well as playing on the field with my teammates… I’m looking forward to all these emotional moments.”
A question for Yacine the musician: who is your favorite composer for the piano? And when you play football do you take inspiration from Frédéric Chopin who is more elegant, or Mozart? And do you know Brian Culbertson who is funky jazz? Which one do you try to apply to football?
“[Smiles] I have a great love for music, I’ve always had. I do play the piano and I’d say my favorite composer is Mozart for his class. I’ve always studied his music since I was very young. Would Mozart be a good nickname for me when I play? Only for my hair [laughs].”