Former Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia admits he “didn’t behave like a great player” at San Siro, but also bitterly criticised Coach Frank De Boer.
Kondogbia is now finding his feet at Valencia, on loan with option to buy, after a poor spell with the Nerazzurri.
“The big mistake I made was arriving at Inter a little too relaxed,” confessed the €40m Frenchman to Sofoot.
“I didn’t realise the noise that had been made in Italy about my signing. I wasn’t ready for all this and didn’t like that kind of pressure. They’d never seen Inter and Milan do battle for the same foreign player, but both clubs came to my home in Montecarlo asking for me to sign.
“They were convinced that with me, they’d win the Scudetto. I should’ve realised my arrival would generate excessive expectations. I was the third most expensive buy in Inter’s history, after Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo. I cost more than Ronaldo!
“In Milan, I didn’t realise the television cameras in front of the hotel were there for me. It was a whole new life and I had to ask far more of myself. For example, if the training session starts at 11am, a great player must get there for 10am or even 9.30am. Let’s be clear – I did not behave like a great player.”
Kondogbia’s relationship with Coach De Boer also broke down very rapidly after he was substituted early in a game.
“At the time, I was annoyed and went straight to the locker room. I calmed down once I got home, but in the Press conference De Boer told everyone I hadn’t followed his instructions. That really angered me.
“I don’t like arguing with people, but the day after he called me in to explain the reasons for his comments. I told him I didn’t want to know, but you don’t win by criticising your own players in public. He said he wanted to send a signal to the group.
“From the moment he arrived, De Boer lacked humility in the locker room. He is one of those people who shakes your hand one day and ignores you the next.
“The day before the opening Serie A game, he had a video session with only the first XI present. That immediately put him in a very difficult position with many players.”
De Boer was brought in two weeks before the start of the Serie A season to replace Roberto Mancini and was fired three months later.