AC Milan loanee, Fikayo Tomori, has sensationally re-affirmed his intention to win a trophy with the Italian club.
“I’m just happy to be back playing, and in the thick of things which is the most important thing. Coming here I think one of the goals personally was to get back on the pitch and try to win a trophy, that would be amazing.”
Refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to be an important player for AC Milan this season, Tomori was full of energy and happiness as he discussed what life is like in Milan.
Tomori made just three appearances in all competitions for Chelsea before he sealed a move away to the San Siro for the rest of the season.
And the 23-year-old has already passed that total for AC Milan in just three weeks since his arrival and he’s already adjusting and more importantly, enjoying his Italian adventure.
“I definitely feel a part of it and feel it. I’m trying to make the most of the experience, trying to better myself, learn the langaue, understand the language,” Tomori told Sky Sports News.
“Here it’s a lot more tactical, there’s a lot more thinking going on and a lot more positional awareness,” Tomori explained.
“In England the game is a lot faster. Like when a goalkeeper catches a ball then suddenly you have strikers and wingers bombing up the pitch, here it’s a bit more structured and a bit slower.
“There’s a lot more instances when you’re 1 v 1 and you have to be aware of where the ball is, where you have to be standing at a specific moment in relation to the ball. That kinda stuff is different and it takes time to get used to.”
The way Tomori speaks about Milan – you can tell he appreciates but isn’t fazed by the weight of history and expectation wearing the famous Rossoneri jersey.
Tomori joined the Italian side officially on January 22 and just four days later, he made his debut in one of the biggest derbies in world football, the Milan derby in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.
“Making my debut in the Milan derby wasn’t something I thought would happen. Leading up to the game, I thought about all the times you see AC Milan against Inter Milan on TV,” Tomori said.
“In England it’s always been a big game, and to make my debut in that game at the San Siro, it was a dream come true.
“Even driving up to the stadium, I saw fans with massive flags and you see them chanting and waving their hands – you could feel the passion coming into the game.
“When I was asked to warm up, I found myself a bit nervous and I don’t really get nervous but seeing the red and black and blue and black stripes, it was amazing.”
Inter Milan won the quarter-final 2-1, but Tomori is already looking forward to the rematch in the league this weekend with Inter leading the Rossoneri by a point.
“Going into the game on Saturday, both teams are first and second in the league at crucial times – it’s going to be an intense game.
“Only thing with coronavirus is that fans can’t be in the stadium but hopefully we can get the win and put ourselves back at the top of the table.”
Tomori’s decision to join AC Milan was easy. This is not to say leaving Chelsea was easy but once the opportunity arose – the young defender’s eagerness to play for the famous Rossoneri as well as the chance to play more games helped make up his mind.
But there was also a special phone call from the San Siro great if he needed any more persuasion to make the move.
You may have heard of him. Paolo Maldini, AC Milan’s technical director – but more famously, a legendary defender who represented Milan for 25 years winning seven Serie A titles and five European Cup / Champions League titles along the way.
Tomori explained: “I was at home and my agent asked me about the call and I was like ‘yeah, what time, what time is it going to be?’”
“It was a surreal moment, It was nothing heavy but more about seeing what I was like as a person, and introducing me to Milan, I felt he was keen for me to come and that made me keener to come.”
Two years after Maldini retired, AC Milan won their last major trophy and this year, it seems to be their best chance to reclaim the Scudetto. If they are to do so – one player who will be vital to any title charge will be the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“He’s been great with me, he has a big personality and he’s a legend in the game. He’s a leader and you hear his voice on the pitch, in training and it’s not in a bad way, it’s all in a motivating encouraging way,” Tomori said.
“To get to the levels he’s got to… you can see that in the way he talks and the way he plays as well.
“I’ve only been here three weeks but you can see there’s a focus to him, determination and motivation – to see that up close and different to what we see on social media is really fascinating.”
Off the pitch, despite the coronavirus pandemic Tomori has been able to see a few parts of the new city he now calls home for the short-term but also admitted it’s been difficult to move countries at such a difficult time.
But it’s easy to forget, this young man is still just 23 and after being involved with Chelsea since he was eight, you could understand if a move abroad, especially under the circumstances, was slightly intimidating.
“Personally I always liked the idea of living in a different country, it wasn’t much of a shock mentally, I always thought it would be nice,” Tomori said.
“I’m enjoying it, obviously I can’t see my family as much but luckily we have FaceTime so I can keep in touch.”