Theo Hernandez explains why Milan have taken him to another level with Stefano Pioli, getting shouted at by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and waiting for France to call. ‘It’s not over.’
The left-back gave a lengthy joint interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, accompanied by his girlfriend Zoe Cristofoli.
“I want to be the best and I love scoring goals, so I have to get at least eight, one more than last season,” said Theo.
“It hasn’t always been so easy for me to find the net, that really started here at Milan, because Stefano Pioli tells me to push forward. After that, of course, I have to get back into position too.
“So I push forward and when I see the goal opening up, I shoot. Of course, then Ibra shouts at me, because he wants the ball!
“Ibra gives everyone great advice, and sometimes also tells us off, but he does it to motivate us. When I came back from the summer vacation, he told me I’d got fat! He was right, I did put on a bit of weight…
“He also told me that I was strong and have to become the best, but there’s a lot of work to get there. We don’t hold back, we give everything in training. It has been an incredible year and everyone deserves the credit.”
Real Madrid fans are beginning to regret letting Theo Hernandez leave for €21.5m in the summer of 2019.
“Perhaps I was too young and it becomes difficult to prove yourself if you don’t play. Pioli put so much faith in me straight away and it got the best out of me. I want to be the best, so I have to stay on this path and not rest on my laurels.”
Milan sent Paolo Maldini personally to convince Theo Hernandez to make the transfer.
“He had me won over before I’d finished my coffee. I couldn’t believe it when he called, as he has always been a legend for me. His every word was important, like Marcelo at Real Madrid.”
Despite his extraordinary form for the Rossoneri, Theo Hernandez is still ignored by the France coach Didier Deschamps.
“I am waiting, but he hasn’t called me yet. It’s a dream for me to play for France with my brother. For the last two years, I’ve been playing to get into the national team. My phone is always by my side.”
Perhaps winning the Scudetto would be a suitable introduction to Les Bleus, although Milan have fallen a little behind.
“There’s Inter, us, Roma and Juventus. Only two years ago, it was just Juve, but we are there and we’ll fight to the end.
“Inter are a good team, but Juve are still the strongest squad. It’s all still open, it’s not over, and we’ve seen before teams can break away with a big lead only to lose the title.”
Theo Hernandez was asked if he’d prefer the Scudetto, a place in the Champions League or to win the Europa League.
“No, I want it all.”
There was also room to discuss the pranks that Theo likes to pull on his teammates.
“When Samu Castillejo is face down on the physio table, I fill his underpants with massage cream. Every time he goes crazy and then puts mandarins in my shoes.”