Theo Hernandez explains why he took a pay cut, believes he can achieve his dream of “winning the Champions League at Milan” and has more “freedom” under Stefano Pioli.
The former Real Madrid full-back joined this summer after face-to-face talks with club legend and current director Paolo Maldini.
“I did some silly things in Madrid, but I have matured as a person since then,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It was an honour for me to be chosen by Maldini, a man who wrote history not just with Milan, but of football in general. He was very convincing and I didn’t need long to accept the offer.
“I even talked to my agent about taking a pay cut for Milan and we immediately agreed. Milan is a club with great history, one of the sides with the most trophies in the world. It was worth making a sacrifice for that.
“I’m still only 22 and have a lot to learn. Milan is a fundamental step in my career and I want to stay here for many years, to write my place in the history books.
“My dream is to win the Champions League with Milan, but first we need to qualify. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get back to the top, but I believe we’re on the right track and can finish in the top four this season.”
It was a rough start, as coach Marco Giampaolo was sacked just seven games into his tenure, while Pioli made his debut with a 2-2 draw against Lecce.
“Giampaolo said I was tactically undisciplined, but I did come to Italy with the idea of improving that aspect of my game. It’s true that I like to attack and push forward, but I do know that I have to do more defensively,” noted Theo.
“We have more freedom under Pioli and I really like his new tactical system. The important thing is that I help the team and I know that in the end I am a defender and must work more covering the spaces. Pioli gives us some freedom, but not too much, as in Italy it’s important to have a clearly-defined tactical organisation.
“We’re learning a great deal with Pioli, he knows what he’s talking about and we will slowly climb back up the table.”
Theo Hernandez never quite delivered on his promise at Real Madrid and freely admits he could’ve done better off the field as well as on.
“I did a few silly things, but I am still young. I consider myself a calm and fun person to be around, I like nothing more than staying home with my family and my dogs.
“I do need to be careful that I don’t put on weight, because being in Italy I do love pasta, pizza and risotto…”
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