Clarence Seedorf prepares for his Champions League debut against Atletico Madrid by confessing “the DNA of Milan is inside me.”
The Dutchman is famously the only player to have won this tournament with three different clubs – Ajax, Real Madrid and twice Milan – so hopes to bring some of that unique experience to his first coaching job.
“I’m very proud of this achievement. The Champions League is an incredible tournament where all the best players and best clubs perform,” he told uefa.com.
“Being able to have this record is a great satisfaction.”
On Wednesday night the Rossoneri host Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
“Coming back to AC Milan was like I’d never been away actually. You know everybody, everybody knows you,” continued the 37-year-old.
“Getting back to Milanello was just like coming back after I’d been injured or on holiday for a while. After 10 years I think you get a sense of things and of course the President, Silvio Berlusconi, has always expressed the values he would like to see on the field and also off it.
“The DNA of Milan is something I have inside of me. Those are values I definitely want to work on and want to impart to the group, because we have a responsibility, especially to the younger ones watching us: it’s not only about winning, but about how we win; it’s not only about competing, but about how you compete.
“I like to see a team that likes to attack, who is creative, which for me means players who do individual stuff, but also a team like Bayern Munich has shown over the last few years that with great organisation and offensive power.
“I’m not really a fan of those teams who are always waiting behind and counter-attacking. Of course that can be very effective, you can win like that and sometimes you have to play like that,
“If you ask me what really excites me, then it’s a team that tries to score more than one goal in a game,” smiled the Dutchman.
Seedorf lifted Milan’s last Champions League trophy in 2007, beating Liverpool in the Final.
“The club wants to use this transition phase to build a bright future again, to build a strong team that will be competitive again worldwide.
“Again, it’s not only winning, but how you compete, how you win and making sure we can be a great example for other players, other clubs and especially all the people who are watching us.
“It’s a long journey, but it has started now and I’m very happy to lead it from a technical point of view.”
There are concerns ahead of the Atletico Madrid tie, as Kaka and Cristian Zapata both picked up injuries during the 1-0 win over Bologna on Friday night.
Keisuke Honda is cup-tied, while Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo are suspended for the first leg.