Stephan El Shaarawy has no regrets about turning down a Premier League move. “I have been a Milan fan since childhood.”
The Little Pharaoh rejected a big proposal from an English club, believed to be Chelsea, over the summer and insisted he was happy with the money he earns.
“How close was I to leaving? No, I’ve always been convinced of my decisions, so I never thought about changing team,” he told Tuttosport.
“I have been a Milan fan since childhood, so being here is a dream come true. I would never have left, not even faced with an offer from Real Madrid. I’d have said no to any team.
“It’s also true that concrete requests from the so-called ‘big’ clubs never really developed. I want to be here for a long time and write Milan history.”
El Shaarawy’s form plummeted after Mario Balotelli’s arrival in January, leading some to suggest they are tactically incompatible.
“Mario and I are more than just teammates, we are true friends. We are always together and also talked about this. I’ve never listened to anyone who said my problem was him. In fact, he was one of the people who stayed closest during my difficulties and encouraged me.
“There’s no jealousy between us. I am convinced that I can do well with or without him on the field. I also think it’s normal for a 20-year-old player to not necessarily score every week. Opponents also got to know me and studied me more carefully.
“Massimiliano Allegri tells me I’m more predictable when I cut in from the left, so I should play more as an out and out striker. I’ll know how to adapt, even though I do find it easier to start from the left, as that’s where I started out. I’m enthusiastic.
“I also want to clarify there has never been a row with Allegri. When he dropped me against Napoli, he explained his ideas and I accepted them calmly. I was fully aware that I wasn’t the same El Shaarawy as a few months earlier. I was on the bench, there was no need to stir up the chaos that followed in the media.
“I’ve learned from that experience for the future. I learned that football can change from one day to the next, whether it turns positive or negative. You have to keep a level head in success and failure.”