Calabria: ‘We really wanted the Milan derby in the semi-finals’


Milan captain Davide Calabria revealed that he and his teammates all wanted a Milan derby in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Rossoneri skipper played a massive role in helping his side qualify to the next stage by playing one of his best games when facing Napoli, containing winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia for much of the two legs and helping Milan progress. Speaking with ‘”1 vs 1’ on DAZN (as quoted by La Gazzeta dello Sport), Calabria talked through the feelings and emotions he had after qualifying, why he and the rest of the squad wanted a Milan derby in the semis and what it was like to face ‘the best player in the league’ in the matches with the Partenopei:

“Right now it’s okay to dream. I started playing football with the dream of lifting the Champions League and now that we are three games away from achieving it, it would be stupid not to dream. We are Milan and we have to think like this.”

“We really wanted the derby in the semifinals, and it will be a fascinating, beautiful challenge. I think we deserved it on the pitch and we are looking forward to it. From the point of view of tension, the challenge against Inter in the semifinals was suffered by great champions and it will be the same for us. Of course in the locker room we are already talking about it. It’s also obvious that when you walk around on the street people say ‘so much stuff.’ It’s an incredible challenge in a context like the Champions semifinal and therefore even more important.”

“The league? We are at a point in the season where we can no longer make mistakes: every point in Serie A is even ‘heavier’ for the club, for ourselves and for the development of this team. There are so few games left to the end that we can’t make any more missteps and we must immediately throw our heads back into the championship. The incentive to face teams like Lecce definitely comes from being able to return to play in 2023-24 Champions League challenges like we did this year, but also from wearing the Milan jersey. The only way to be repaid are wins, so the stimulus is to win every game in the league from here to the end. We can achieve that.”

“Napoli? The keys to getting through the round in the Champions League against Napoli were definitely the spirit of sacrifice, selflessness and being able to suffer all together. There were some complicated moments but we dealt with them in a great way and I think we earned the semifinal because of the care we took in every little detail. There was a lot of pride in the locker room at the end of the game and we enjoyed the sacrifice-the effort was really intense and we are happy to have overcome the hurdle. On Tuesday we released the tension by celebrating, but now we have to face the final part of the season, which is the most important part. So we have to get right back to work to achieve our goals. The direct clash with Kvara? It excited me because I like playing against these players: he is proving to be a future phenomenon and so far he has perhaps been the best in the whole Serie A.”

“Maignan? On Mike there is little to say: he is a phenomenon both mentally and technically: what he gives us with his feet, with his hands, in goal is incredible. We missed him during the period when he was absent, and I think, without taking anything away from the others, it was really an important absence. He is proving it again with what he is doing now. He is a player of another category who brings you points despite being a goalkeeper.”


Serie A obsessive.