Milan defender Davide Calabria reveals he clashed with coach Stefano Pioli at the start and Zlatan Ibrahimovic ‘made us understand what wanting to win at all costs means.’
The full-back turns 24 next week and has spent his entire career with the Rossoneri, although at times it looked as if he would move on.
“Last year I had some problems and wondered if this really was the right path for me, but I convinced myself that I shouldn’t give in,” he told StarCasinò.
“I didn’t ask for help, I just pushed myself out of that hole. I am now fired up and determined to prove to both myself and those who criticised me that I can play. It’s like a mental switch you need if you want to play at this level, to feed on pressure.”
Milan have certainly impressed since the lockdown, as they lost just one competitive match since March, earning coach Pioli a contract extension, but Calabria reveals it wasn’t always so rosy.
“I did have a few too many discussions with the coach at the start. We sat down like men and talked about what wasn’t working. From the day after that, we managed to form a strong rapport, just as there is with the whole squad.
“It’s not a coincidence if a team does well, because if you feel that emotional bond, you unconsciously give a little bit more. We are giving our all and so is the coach to us.”
The other leadership figure at San Siro is Ibrahimovic, who arrived in January and transformed Milan’s fortunes.
“I think he was above all fundamental at the start, as he made us understand what wanting to win at all costs means,” explained Calabria.
“You must never rest on your laurels, never feel sated. The mentality I saw in Ibrahimovic is something I’ve never seen in any other player. He came back to Milan to challenge himself and also help all of us for the future.
“We’ve missed him out injured before, and we can’t wait for him to return, but in the meantime we’ve got to prove we’re a strong team and give a little extra to make up for his absence.”
Currently top of the Serie A table, Calabria has no fear of mentioning the Scudetto.
“Why not believe? The only limits are the ones you set for yourself. We need to think as big as possible, then we’ll see what happens, but in any case taking it one game at a time.”