Fikayo Tomori has revealed how Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva convinced him to leave Chelsea and embrace an exciting new challenge at AC Milan.
WHAT HAPPENED? The 25-year-old defender, who is a product of the famed academy system at Stamford Bridge, took the brave decision to leave his homeland for Italy in January 2021 – with an initial loan agreement put in place. Tomori has gone on to thrive at San Siro, becoming a Serie A title winner, and admits that two fellow centre-halves with prior experience of life in Italy helped to persuade him that swapping west London for Milan was the right career choice.
WHAT THEY SAID: Tomori has told The Players’ Tribune of stepping out of his comfort zone to go chasing the dream on foreign fields: “When I was growing up in London, it felt like the only English players playing abroad were David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves. It wasn’t a real option. And this wasn’t just any club, it was AC Milan. But then I spoke to some of the boys at Chelsea who’d been in Italy — Toni Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic and Emerson. Toni had been at Roma, and he was always going on and on about how good the support was. He came up to me like, ‘So you going to Milan? Listen, if you’ve got the chance, you go. The fans … it’s just different in Italy. It’s crazy. I was the man there, you know? Just give everything and they’re gonna love you’. Then there was Thiago Silva. He didn’t even speak English, but when he heard what we were talking about he just went, ‘Milan?’ and gave a massive thumbs up! I was like, O.K., get me on that plane!”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rudiger spent two seasons with Roma before joining Chelsea in the summer of 2017, while veteran Brazil international Silva took in 119 appearances across three years at AC Milan – becoming a title winner in the process – before moving on to Paris Saint-Germain.
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