New Milan signing Christian Pulisic says it was love at first sight between him and the clubs fans. The USMNT winger arrived at the club this summer and has settled quickly, scoring two goals in three appearances so far this summer. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, he shared his first impressions of the city his love of chess and the upcoming derby against Inter this weekend:
The Milan fans seem to have fallen in love with you quickly…
“Yes, it was love at first sight for me too, especially when I saw the fans. I had never found a passion like this.”
What are the two moments that stand out since you arrived?
“The first match, in Bologna. It was a great evening. And the warm-up of the first match at San Siro, as I was walking I raised my head and saw all those fans. Beautiful.”
What’s the most beautiful stadium you have played in?
“I have played in some of the best stadiums in the world but San Siro is one of the most impressive. I also remember the atmosphere arriving at the stadium as an opponent, against Chelsea. It was incredible.”
Who is stronger: Inter or Milan?
“Let’s say that a derby is the perfect opportunity to find out.”
What is Inter’s best quality?
“The team is strong and it’s difficult to play against them, as the Champions League final also demonstrates. If I had to choose one quality, I would say that they know how to defend very well with a low block and at the same time they have the quality to score goals on the counter-attack.”
Which team-mates have impressed you most?
“Well, that’s difficult. Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is a very strong player, I know him well. And Reijnders has great ball skills, he is special. For me, he is top top, a top level player.”
What is a dream you have for the derby?
“Scoring goals, like for every forward. Or to provide an assist, which is always nice. I want to play the derby and the Champions League, I can’t wait. We started off great, I know we will do the best we can and I want to win, which is always there in the end.”
Is the Scudetto a target?
“We are confident about the Scudetto, we have strong players, excellent players have arrived, there is a great mix of talent. We can win, we just have to keep working and playing like this.”
What is Gerry Cardinale like?
“I only had one conversation with him, he told me that he was enthusiastic about having me at Milan and it’s the same for me. So far in Italy it has been a great experience.”
What are your impressions of Italy?
“The culture here is very different than in London, in some things in Italy the pace is slower and I really like this thing that I can have the sun every day. The Italians… well, they don’t speak English that well but they are very kind, they always help me, they are very friendly.”
Where do you live in the city?
“Let’s say in an area halfway between Milan and Milanello…”
What are you like off the field?
“I’m an introvert, I’m certainly not the most outgoing person in the world. I like being on my own, relaxing, doing my own thing. In one thing I am an exception. I am hyper competitive.”
What is Rafael Leao like?
“Rafa is already one of the best players in the world, on that flank with him and Theo we are very strong. I really enjoy playing with them.”
“I would say that it is the same in many things and in many senses. He strikes me because he always scores, he is always in the right position. We get on very well on the field. And then he is a fantastic person.”
“Pioli can be tough at times. He tells you his opinion of him harshly and I like that, it’s what I look for in a coach. I like that he says what he thinks.”
Who is your craziest team-mate (in a good way)?
“Yacine Adli. That boy amuses me.”
“Maybe Pierre. Pierre Kalulu.”
The smartest on the pitch?
Who would you like to go on vacation with?
Is there an athletic you take inspiration from?
“Aaron Rodgers, a quarterback who just joined my Jets. Even though I’m biased, the Jets also have Sauce Gardner and Breece Hall. In basketball, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.”
What is an area you can improve?
“I want to be more open, more extroverted, speak in Italian perhaps. Italy will help me.”
Do you still play chess?
“Ah, I still play. Every day of my life.”