Keisuke Honda says Italian football is “tied to past successes” and feels AC Milan keep making the same mistakes in their quest to recapture past glory.
Japan international Honda moved to Milan on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow in January 2014. The attacking midfielder has not always convinced for the Rossoneri, who have struggled during his time at the club.
Milan finished eighth in the 2013-14 Serie A campaign and 10th last season, with former players Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi failing in their attempts to revive the team’s fortunes as head coach.
And the experience of playing for a side desperate to challenge for silverware once again appears to have left its mark on Honda.
Asked in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport if there is an aspect of Italian football he does not like, Honda said: “The mentality.
“You only think about winning and therefore you prefer not to take risks. The Italian culture is too tied to past successes, but it would serve well for a general renovation to occur as it has in other European leagues.
“I have played two World Cups with Japan, the Champions League, I’m not even 30-years-old, but people [are] already talking about life after Honda. Here, it’s different – since Italian football has been very successful, you have remained tied to that model.”
A Milan side led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva won Serie A in 2010-11, while the team were regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League in the previous decade, winning the competition in 2003 and 2007.
Honda, though, is well aware Sinisa Mihajlovic’s present team are far below the level of their illustrious predecessors.
“We must not confuse this Milan with the sides that won everything,” he said.
“When I got here, I realised that it was not the same Milan that I fell in love with on TV. We’re trying to get back to those levels, but it’s a long road. On TV, I admired not only the technical quality but especially the character: the individual had an identity within the group.”
Quizzed on whether or not Milan have what it takes to eventually catch up to reigning champions and league leaders Juventus, who they are at home to on Saturday, Honda said: “I think so, but since I’ve arrived, we’ve made the same mistakes.”
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