In view of AC Milan – Dinamo Zagreb game today, former Rossoneri player Ivan Strinic granted an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Here are his words:
“Dinamo Zagreb’s coach (Ante Cacic)? He called me to Euro 2016. In Croatia, he is seen as a phenomenon because he also coached the national team.For sure he will have prepared this game in detail. I remember endless video sessions to analyse the opponent and hours of tactical training. In 2016, we went out in the round of 16 against Portugal, a good path.”
What does Milan have to fear from Dinamo?
“The surprise effect. They have nothing to lose and they proved it by beating Chelsea, but also a few years ago against Atalanta. On paper, if Leao and his teammates play as they know there is no match, they are from another planet. But never say never.”
On Mislav Orsic:
“He is very strong. Watch out also for Martin Baturina, number 10, playmaker with beautiful feet. And then there is the usual Bruno Petkovic. He knows Italy well, he played in Bologna and Trapani. He can leave his mark.”
Dinamo Zagreb should not be underestimated…
“Absolutely not… Among the players to keep an eye on, I also mention Adami, the captain, starter in Italy-Macedonia among other things.”
Strinic on the absence of his friend Ante Rebic:
“A shame. He is like that, silent and strong. In Milan, he is great, he often tells me about the Rossoneri world. For example, about the arrival of Ibra combined with the work of Maldini and Massara which changed everything. Ante mentions the Swede often: ‘There was a before and after Zlatan’, he says. He talks about mentality, about leadership. The three of them, along with Boban, have built a great team. I hope he wins the Scudetto again.”
On Theo Hernandez, Ismael Bennacer and Rafael Leao:
“We trained together a few months in 2019, before I said enough with football. I remember Rafael with a smile. He was shy, silent, asking permission to do anything. His hair was different too. He is now a high-level technical leader. The strongest player in Serie A.”
Will Rafael Leao be the extra weapon against Dinamo Zagren?
“I think so, but if I have to mention another then I say Calabria. He too has grown a lot. In 2018-19 we were always in the room together. He was 22, I was 33, we played loud music and joked together. Today he is the captain of a team of phenomena.”
On his tough time at Milan, Strinic said this:
“Decidedly. At first I had a heart problem, then I suffered 2-3 annoying injuries, mainly muscle. At the end of the season, I talked extensively with Boban about my future and what I had been through. I couldn’t go on anymore.”
On retiring at age 33:
“When I returned to Split I started spending more time with my family, accompanying my children to kindergarten and staying at home more, so I said stop. I could have played in Croatia or Bulgaria, but I thought ‘who makes me do it?’. When you mentally say stop, then it’s tough to start over. My last pro game? July 15, 2018 (smiles) We, talents and friends, one centimeter from the dream. Despite being a regret, certainly the biggest of my career, that day remains unique. Ours was a generation of phenomena led by a great coach, Zlatko Dalic, one who made me play despite months on the bench with Sampdoria. From January to May I will have played two games, I went out of the team for signing with Milan, but Dalic gave me confidence.”
Strinic, will you become a coach in the future?
“I do not know yet. I would like to take a license to teach children something, but it’s early. Now I am taking care of some real estate activities in Split, near the sea. I have so many projects, let’s see what life has in store for me.”
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