The absence of Andrea Pirlo is already being felt by Italian champions Milan, says Christian Abbiati.
Pirlo left the Rossoneri after a decade this summer when he joined rivals Juventus on a free transfer.
"We already miss Pirlo," Abbiati stated on Thursday. "He's a great champion and I wish him all of the very best.
"We played together for many years, also for the Under-21 side, and he's a great friend. Juventus made a great signing."
Abbiati played a key role in the club's Scudetto success last term, but he concedes another Italian championship may be tough.
"It'll be hard to defend out title as it's always very difficult to repeat yourselves," continued the former Torino, Juventus and Atletico Madrid player.
"All of the clubs have strengthened and we'll all start from the same line. Napoli are the side who have improved the most so far."
Milan will officially open the season when they take on Inter in the Italian Super Cup on August 6 in Beijing.
"I would have preferred to play the Super Cup game in Milan, a derby between the two teams of the city would have been nice at San Siro.
"We are training now for the Super Cup, that's the first target. Then the League starts and the Champions League. We'll have new objectives as we go along."