Donadoni: “Inter and Milan are ahead of others, Pioli will know how to find De Ketelaere the right place but we should not immediately expect the moon”

Roberto Donadoni during Arrigo Sacchi’s book presentation at Banco BPM auditorium on June 17, 2019. (

Roberto Donadoni spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the new season.

Serie A kicks off in 10 days from now and Matchday 1 will see Milan, the reigning Champions, host Udinese at San Siro.

Ahead of the start of the new campaign, Milan legend Roberto Donadoni spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Andrea Schianchi to talk about the expected Scudetto battle between Milan and Inter.

Donadoni, will it again be a duel between Inter and Milan for the Scudetto?
“I think so. They are the two teams that, at the moment, I see as more ready and more organized. The others seem to be that they still need to fix something. Juventus, for instance, after dominating for so many years, have gone through some difficulties and are now trying to find the right balance. But they need a little bit of adjustments in all departments. I am curious to see Roma at work, because I am very intrigued by the offensive department with two half-strikers plus Abraham. Dybala’s arrival has ignited enthusiasm, however again there is a structure to be built. Inter and Milan, on the other hand, already have solid foundations and therefore start ahead.”

The Nerrazzuri and the Rossoneri have a completely different philosophy: muscles for the former and technique for the latter. Do you agree?
“That’s exactly right, but this peculiarity is part of the clubs’ DNA. Inter, in history, have always been a very physical, very muscular, very powerful team. Even in the days of Helenio Herrera, when they relied on Sandro Mazzola’s speed, Giacinto Facchetti’s sprints and Luis Suárez. Milan, on the contrary, favor more technique, the refinement of the game, moving the ball around, dominating the field through maneuvering. It seems to me that Simone Inzaghi and Pioli’s teams are the offspring of these ideas that come from afar.”

Roberto Donadoni during Arrigo Sacchi’s book presentation at Banco BPM auditorium on June 17, 2019. (

Lukaku is a symbol of this philosophy. Power and physicality at the service of the team…
“Lukaku is a phenomenal striker who makes a department on his own. When you have such a player, you can rest easy. In Italy we have seen what is capable of doing. It’s true that he is not coming off a good season in the Premier League, but I think there the problems were of an environmental nature and of integration into the group. For me, he is a super center forward.”

What do you like about him?
“When he has the field in front of him, he is devastating. He is also very good at protecting and shielding the ball and in this way he dictates the timing of the plays to the team. The understanding with Lautaro is good and this is also something to take into account. But Inter, general, is a solid, powerful and muscular team. It’s not only Lukaku. I think of the defenders, who are very physical. On the flanks they have energy. In midfield as well…”

Roberto Donadoni, Filippo Galli, Mauro Tassotti, Franco Baresi, Arrigo Sacchi and Silvio Berlusconi with the Champions League trophy during Sacchi’s book presentation at Banco BPM auditorium on June 17, 2019. (

And do you know De Ketelaere?
“I’ve seen him in action, although not so many times, and I got a positive assessment of him. Besides, he is very young, he has ample room for improvement and I’m sure that at Milan he will make the progress that is in his potential.”

What kind of player is he?
“A very flexible striker. Let me explain: he is not a classic trequartista whose play, often, results for his own sack. He is someone who someone who embraces the philosophy of the team, who integrates well into the group and in the way of working, who participates in the action and moves a lot. And these characteristics make me think of a modern player: today’s football is about speed, pressing, always a high pace… here, De Ketelaere seems to be suitable to me.”

Does he fit well into Pioli’s project?
“I would say yes, although one should not immediately expect the moon from a guy who has just landed in our league. Milan relies a lot on the collective, on choral play, on switching positions, on moving the ball around vertically, and I really believe that De Ketelaere is useful is in this system. Pioli will know how to find him the right place, which can be behind the central striker or on the wing. But I repeat, he is someone who varies a lot, he doesn’t give points of reference to the opponents.”

His prolificacy will have to be evaluated. Can he reach double figures?
“Only a magician can know that. He has very interesting quality, a very good shoot, he can score and he has scored. So in my opinion, he is a good element. Of course, Lukaku us more of a bomber, but that doesn’t mean anything. Milan is a team that in the last campaign had many players scoring precisely because they all participate in the offensive phase.”

Roberto Donadoni before Milan and Sassuolo at Stadio San Siro on December 15, 2019. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Between Inter’s muscles and Milan’s technique, which would you choose?
“I’ve been a Milanista forever, I can’t answer because of an obvious conflict of interest. I’m curious to see how Pioli’s team will manage to improve and where. I’m waiting for the final explosion of Leão, who has incredible potential, and I look carefully at Tonali. And from Inter I follow Brozović and want to see how Mkhitaryan’s inclusion will be.”

How much will the international games affect?
“The first part of the season, for both Milan and Inter, has to be done with the foot pressed on the accelerator. A sprint start is essential to give confidence to the whole environment. Milan and Inter are ahead of others because they already have a secure work base. Certainly the Champions League will take away a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. The rotation of players in various matches will be very important.”

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“It seems to me that Simone Inzaghi and Pioli’s teams are the offspring of these ideas that come from afar.”

What is he implying? That we have descendants of Indira and Asura in Serie A? Xd


do u even know the meaning of derby della madonnina? obviously milan is jesus and banter milan is his umbilical cord