Kalulu discusses Maldini’s role in his decision, Pioli’s coaching style and renewal

AC Milan defender Pierre Kalulu has set his sights on winning the Scudetto again and has admitted he has a desire to extend his contract as long as he remains in the starting XI.

Kalulu was interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport on a range of topics, starting with Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Napoli which saw Milan suffer their first La Liga defeat since January.

“A few details made the difference. We lost three points, but you can’t throw everything away, you learn to improve even from defeats,” he said (via SempreMilan.it).

“Scudetto? Pioli tells us every day: This year it will be even more difficult. It becomes clear that the games with rivals are decided precisely on the details. It’s up to us to prove that we are the reigning champions. I am convinced that everyone will fight for the title until the end. We definitely want to be first again.”

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Kalulu arrived on a free transfer from Lyon (for a small development fee) and without ever having made his first-team debut, but his work at Milanello won him the respect of his teammates and the head coach’s truth. He revealed a bit about why he chose the Rossoneri.

“It has a certain effect when Paolo Maldini calls you. I’ve gotten used to it now, but it really impressed me the first time. Even though I’m young, I still saw him play, certainly at the end of his career, but he remains a reference,” he said.

“The funny thing is that the roles were reversed a bit at the moment as I was trying to keep some distance and he was trying to persuade me. Maldini convinced me by telling me that he has full confidence in me that I would be part of the first team and find a place that would match my growth. It was like this.

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“He [Maldini] is very present without ever overlapping the trainer. For example, he advises me on how to defend yourself in certain phases or how to deal with a certain attacker. Small details with which you can improve a lot. There is only one Maldini, but I want to write my story and become one of the best in the world.”

Stefano Pioli also earned credit for contributing to Pierre Kalulu’s growth by putting him in the right situations and showing a lot of confidence in the young Frenchman.

“At these levels it is not trivial for a coach to be able to involve everyone. I appreciate the high intensity of the training, the same goes for the game, with healthy competition,” Kalulu said.

“He’ll tell you when you’re okay, and he knows how to talk to you when you’re not doing so well. In moments of doubt, he knows how to motivate and remembers that we are a strong and intelligent group. We’re a young team, but I’ve improved a lot with him.”

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He added to newcomer Yacine Adli: “We know each other from the youth teams in France. He has the right attitude and all the qualities to make room here too. I’m sure he’ll prove it by gradually gaining minutes.”

There’s talk of Kalulu extending his current contract, which expires in 2025, given his importance to the project, which Pierre certainly hasn’t refuted.

“If everything is going as well as it is now, that we win, that I play as a regular player, the only thing left is the desire to continue. But there will be an opportunity to talk to the managers about the contract.”

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