NEWS
Wednesday November 13 2019
Montolivo: 'Milan froze me out'

Riccardo Montolivo has hit out at Milan after his decision to hang up his boots, revealing how he was stripped of the captaincy with no explanation.

Montolivo announced his retirement from professional football in an interview with Corriere dello Sport on Wednesday, and he dug even more dirt on the Rossoneri.

“When Gattuso preferred to move [defender Davide] Calabria further up the pitch instead of letting me play against Fiorentina, I realised that the problem was not me and that the answers to my questions would never come,” continued the 34-year-old.

The former Italy midfielder claims the situation got so bad that Gennaro Gattuso “almost had to apologise” for bringing him back into the squad during an injury crisis.

“I spoke to the coach and he told me that the results of my tests weren’t at the same level of my teammates.

“It wouldn’t possibly be as I wasn’t allowed to train with the squad until mid-November.

“To justify my return to the squad, Gattuso referred to the absences of Brescianini and Torrasi, two players from the Primavera.

“He almost apologised for it. After a kickabout with the squad, I was invited to train again, but often alone or sometimes with Halilovic, or with the Primavera.

“Nothing happened between Gattuso and I. I can’t even explain this situation to myself because I never got any answers.

“When Gattuso replaced [Vincenzo] Montella, he called me and some other more experienced players to ask for advice and get the right support.”

When Milan signed Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus, Montolivo lost the captain’s armband and was told it was a “decision made by the President.”

“I was no longer captain after the arrival of [Leonardo] Bonucci, when Mirabelli and Montella told me I should give up my captaincy.

“I replied that it didn’t seem like a good idea because Milan was a great club with a delicate balance.

“Other teammates like Bonaventura would have filled the role better and the decision should’ve been taken in the dressing room.

“They replied that there wouldn’t be any discussions, it was the [former] President Yonghong Li’s decision. I got the same answer from Bonucci.

When Lucas Biglia was signed from Lazio, the ex-Fiorentina man accepted he would have to fight for his place, not knowing he was being phased out completely.

“Biglia was a big signing and would change the pecking order. He would start and I was to challenge for my spot in the team.

“At the end of July, I didn’t travel to the US with the rest of my teammates, but I was never told why.

“The Milan Lab data confirmed my excellent condition, but evidently this was not the real problem.

“The decision was communicated to me through a text message from the team manager the day before our departure.

“Then I also spoke to Leonardo and [Paolo] Maldini, everyone told me that I had become the third choice, which I had to accept.

“But it was that sense of indolence which saddened me the most. After what happened against Fiorentina, it seemed clear to me that I was no longer the third choice.

“Perhaps I had become ninth in line.”

His last appearance for Milan came as a substitute during the Coppa Italia Final in May 2018, when Juventus were already 4-0 up...

“For me to enter the Coppa Italia Final at 4-0 to Juve was certainly not a show of respect and affection.

“I stayed for different reasons. At the end of July, as I hadn’t been called up for the tour, there were only a handful of days left of the transfer market, which ended on Ferragosto.

“The rumours started in January. I was fine and I’m still fine, but someone didn’t believe it.

“It felt like they didn’t want to go against Milan or give me a chance. But one thing is clear; I never refused a transfer.”

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