Thursday September 21 2017
Abate: Thought about retiring…

Milan full-back Ignazio Abate admits he thought about retiring after his eye injury and urges young players to look up to “exemplary” Gabriel Paletta.

Abate only returned to fitness over the summer, having taken a blow to his left eye against Sassuolo back in February, but the 30-year-old assured he had “started over”.

“It’s difficult to remember that moment in Reggio Emilia,” he told Milan TV after the Rossoneri’s 2-0 win against SPAL on Wednesday.

“I won’t deny that for a time, I thought I’d stop and not come back. Instead, everything’s going well and my eye is recovering.

“I must thank the club’s medical staff, old and new. Now I’ve started over and I’m happy to have started a game at San Siro. I was tense and excited.

“We could’ve done better in the last 20 minutes, we wanted to score a third goal, but I think we’re on the right track.

“The obstacles start now because there’s no time to even lift your head, playing every three days.

“It's great to see the San Siro so packed again. It’s difficult for opponents to take any points from a stadium like this.

“We must feed off this enthusiasm. We laid solid foundations last season, and several champions and future champions came in over the summer.

“Even those who play less are engaging every day, they’re giving 2000 percent. I want to put a name out there for everyone: Paletta.

“He’s been training every day with fire in his belly, since July 2. I think he should be used as an example, both as a player and as a man.

“The 3-5-2? It’s going pretty well and when you have someone behind you like Zapata, who gives you a helping hand, it becomes a lot easier.

“Conti’s injury? He has a strong character, he’ll overcome this horrible situation and give us a big hand in the final part of the season.”