Milan star Ismaël Bennacer has, on Saturday, spoken out over the decision of former Rossoneri teammate Hakan Çalhanoğlu to link up with city rivals Inter.
Midfielder Çalhanoğlu, of course, sprung a major surprise on all on the red half of Milan back in 2021. This came upon the Turk, after failing to find an agreement on the terms of a new contract with Stefano Pioli’s troops, opting to take his talents across the city divide, to line out for Milan’s most bitter rivals.
The decision has since, understandably, seen Çalhanoğlu singled out as a ‘Judas’ figure, with his continued success in Inter colours only rubbing further salt in the wounds of fans of his former club.
One individual, meanwhile, who was left in particular disbelief by the 29-year-old’s decision comes in the form of ex-Rossoneri teammate Ismaël Bennacer.
Speaking in an interview with Instant Foot, as cited by Calciomercato, this weekend, Bennacer was drawn on his one-time midfield partner’s move across the San Siro divide.
And the Algerian went on reveal that, initially, he didn’t believe the news, with his level of ‘respect’ for Milan meaning that he would never follow in the footsteps of Çalhanoğlu:
“I didn’t know anything, I found out at the last minute when Eriksen fell ill. Hakan wanted to stay at Milan, I don’t know what happened. Maybe they didn’t reach an agreement. We’re friends, but on pitch friendship doesn’t exist with opponents and even more so in a derby.
“I respect his choice, but when I read about that transfer, I thought he hadn’t really done it. Personally, I have too much respect for Milan to behave in this way.
“Inter can offer me whatever they want, but it won’t happen. It doesn’t mean that I will stay here for my entire career, but I will certainly never go to the Nerazzurri.”
Conor Laird | GIFN