AC Milan, after signing Senegalese 24-year-old left-back Fodé Ballo-Touré from AS Monaco, presented the player today to the media through a press conference.
Here are the defender’s statements:
“I’m happy to be in a great club like Milan. At the beginning there was contact between Maldini and my agent but I didn’t believe it.”
On coming to Italy:
“I was very well received here by everyone. I’m also starting to learn the Italian language. Coach Pioli? We had a talk and he explained to me what he expects from me.”
On his objective:
“I have to improve in the attacking phase in order to do the things that Theo Hernandez does at Milan.”
On the similarities between Ballo-Touré and Theo:
“Everyone has their own style, but I am also fast like him. I have to improve various aspects of my game, such as from the realization point of view, but each one of us has their own qualities.”
On finding former teammate Mike Maignan at Milan:
“We’re very happy to meet again. We shared a few seasons together at PSG and Lille. He is like a brother to me, he has always given me a lot of advice and he will continue to do so. I am happy to be playing with him again.”
On playing with Fikayo Tomori, whom he faced in the Youth League final a few years ago:
“It’s a great pleasure to find Fikayo Tomori as well here. We have not talked about that final yet, but we certainly will. It’s great to see him again.”
Who inspires Ballo-Touré?
“I don’t have a player to inspire me. As a child I loved forwards, but I’m not inspired by anyone in particular.”
How important was Paolo Maldini in making your choice to move to AC Milan?
“Paolo Maldini is an important point of reference. I am very happy that he brought me here and placed his confidence in me.”
Is this Milan team the right place to make the quality leap?
“Pioli gives a lot of importance to the full backs. Being here will help me a lot to improve, and being in Serie A, I can be able to improve a lot from a technical and tactical point of view.”
Why did you choose the number 5?
“The 5 and 3 are the numbers that are usually worn by left-backs. The 3 was not available so I chose the jersey number 5.”
On where does he want to improve more:
“I can improve a lot on the defensive phase. I am a very agressive and fast player.”
On what went wrong at Monaco:
“Football is like this, these things happen. It can happen to have ups and downs. But now I’m at Milan and I only think about doing well here.”
Why did you only want Milan?
“Milan are a great club, I couldn’t miss an opportunity like that. Here, I want to improve, I will work hard, then the coach will decide who to play.”
On playing the African cup in January:
“I will be happy to represent my national team in the African Cup. If we have to talk to the club about it, we will do it without problems.”
On having many French speaking teammates at Milan:
“I am happy to find them here. They can certainly help me in translating Italian in case I don’t understand something. That would make me feel at ease for sure.”
On the difference between the Italian and French leagues:
“In France, there is intensity and more physicality. But, in Italy, there is more focus on tactics, it takes great level of concentration from start to finish”, concludes Fodé Ballo-Touré the press conference.