Hakan Calhanoglu has ‘a lot of confidence’ but revealed he needed time to settle at Milan, hailed coach Stefano Pioli, hopes Zlatan Ibrahimovic stays and said he ‘really likes playing’ with Gigio Donnarumma.
The winger has stepped up in 2019-20 and contributed nine goals and nine assists in 34 League games and helping Milan to sixth in Serie A.
And after three months inactive, Calhanoglu has pointed out that the training programme during the lockdown helped the Rossoneri, who are unbeaten since the resumption.
“Our coach and staff have done a great job to train us at home, via phone and video calls,” Calhanoglu told Star Casino Sport. “When we returned to Milanello, we trained hard every day, we did a great job together.
“Pioli is a very important person for me and for the team, he’s a coach who listens, wants to know what the player thinks.
“I play in my role, the role I prefer. We are all happy that he renewed, it wasn’t easy for him either.
“There were many rumours but he’s a great professional. He only thought about the team, to bring it as high as possible, we played for him too.”
The Turkey international scored a beautiful free kick against Atalanta but his favourites were in the 4-2 win after extra time against Torino in the Coppa Italia.
“I saw [David] Beckham’s video. It’s a goal that’s remembered, 11 years after his. It will surely remain in my career, it’s a beautiful thing.
“[My best] were those against Torino when I started on the bench. Then I came on and scored two goals to help us win the game.
“I have great confidence because everyone believes in my qualities and I show them on the pitch. I’m not afraid, I have a lot of confidence, but there are many other leaders like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.”
Calhanoglu went on to praise Zlatan Ibrahimovic for his ‘passion’ and hopes the former Sweden international will remain at Milanello.
“He’s a great player and a great person. He has a lot of personality, he came here with great passion,” Calhanoglu said. “I hope he will stay next season too, he’s very important for us.”
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma seems set to renew with the Rossoneri and Calhanoglu revealed he enjoys playing with the Italy international.
“He’s a great player too, he has a great personality and is a good man. I really like playing with Gigio, he’s young but has character, I’m very happy for him too.
“He has already played 200 games, congratulations to him.”
But the 26-year-old said he struggled to get used to Italian football after his move from Bayer Leverkusen in July 2017.
“The first year I arrived in Milan, I hadn’t played the six previous months, and it was very difficult to physically get back in shape.
“I had to learn the Italian language and the football, which is very different from the Bundesliga, there are many quality players here and tactically they try to watch all the movements.
“The second year I improved a bit with [Gennaro] Gattuso. The third year has been mine. I like to play in Serie A, there are many quality players, many good teams.
“In the Bundesliga there are Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen… That’s the difference."
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