Noah Okafor spoke to La Gazzetta, discussing his tattoos, why he selected Milan, having a psychological coach and extra.
Okafor joined Milan from Crimson Bull Salzburg this summer time for €14 million and instantly joined the squad for america tour.
The 23-year-old remains to be not match sufficient to play as he was battling an harm on the finish of final season however he instantly discovered himself along with his new teammates, as evident within the movies and photographs.
Noah sat down for an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Luca Bianchin to debate his first days in Crimson and Black:
Every week at Milan. Higher or worse than anticipated?
“There’s an amazing environment right here, the group is unbelievable and it’s going nice with the coach. I signed a bit in the past however I’m very glad, I’m actually assured for the longer term.”
With out mincing phrases: are you able to win the Scudetto?
“Sure, additionally as a result of a soccer who doesn’t need to win – will not be a footballer. We’ve a robust group and I hope to win Serie An instantaneous. To do that you at all times want vitality, typically you lose video games however you be taught from defeats. After which, I hate dropping.”
Along with your contract with Salzburg expiring in 2024, many golf equipment throughout Europe got interested. Milan grew to become so with the previous administration of Maldini and Massara, and with the brand new one among Furlani and Moncada. Why did you make this alternative?
“As a result of they needed me rather a lot. Within the fall I performed towards Milan within the Champions League and we’ve been in touch ever since. It’s clear that I had different provides however all the pieces was at all times clear to me. The followers, the San Siro stadium, all the pieces: it’s a brand new step for my development.”
So let’s speak about rising up, with a Swiss mom and a father who comes from Nigeria…
“Sure, I’ve solely been to Nigeria twice however I used to be youthful, it’s been a very long time. My dad arrived in Germany when he was 17, then he went to Switzerland. I discovered from him, he at all times advised me to be glad, to smile, to transmit optimistic vitality and to combat laborious for my goals.”
Did this tattoo in your legs, ‘be your individual hero’ come from there? Why precisely that phrase?
“As a result of I feel I can resolve day-after-day what I need to do. It simply depends upon me, I’m my very own boss and I do know what I need. The tattoo was born from this thought. I need to do my finest each in coaching and in matches. All the time prepare laborious to take the following step and enhance.”
On the web it’s mentioned ‘Okafor already had a psychological coach at 15-16 years of age’. Is it nonetheless like this?
“Sure, I feel it’s essential for a younger participant. With this life we at all times have stress on and off the pitch: speaking to somebody is de facto essential to me.”
What concerning the different tattoos? You may see faces on the left arm, a lion…
“The faces belong to my brothers. Two guys, youthful than me, enjoying soccer: one in Germany and one in Switzerland. And an older sister. I’m an idol for my brothers, they need to be like me, and I used to handle them as a child, we’ve got an amazing relationship.
Rafa Leão… a further twin brother?
“Sure, Rafa and I are like twins: we each dribble very properly, we’re younger and we’ve got the identical humor. We spoke for the primary time after a sport between Switzerland and Portugal, then we exchanged messages following the double problem within the Champions League and we had been additionally opponents on the World Cup. We’ve a very good relationship, I stay up for enjoying with him.”
By the best way, how is your bodily situation?
“I’m effective, I’ve been out the previous couple of weeks however from the following one I’ll be within the group.”
You mentioned in an previous interview on redbullcom: ‘I’ve suffered some racist feedback from opponents and followers’. In evaluating an Italian supply, was racism a difficulty?
What was the behind the scenes of the negotiations like?
“Milan remained in touch with me for 6-9 months, contacts that grew to become extra intense within the final two weeks. They noticed that I used to be doing properly, then all the pieces was accomplished in 3-4 days and… right here I’m.”
Why the quantity 17?
“7 is my favourite quantity. In actual fact at Salzburg I had 77. Right here the 7 was taken by Adli, so I selected 17, which is Rafa’s previous quantity. I prefer it.”
All the brand new signings discuss concerning the historical past of Milan. Which gamers come to thoughts when serious about the previous?
“Milan is a superb membership with an amazing historical past. They’ve had many stars, nice gamers but additionally now we’re very robust, younger and hungry. If I’ve to decide on, I’ll say Ronaldinho, Kaká and Gullit. I’m nonetheless younger however I need to assist this group make new historical past.”
As a middle ahead or a winger?
“I can play on the left, on the correct and as a striker within the middle. I’m versatile. I’ve to adapt to a brand new nation, with new ways and new groups however I’ve already been there earlier than with Salzburg. I attempt to be open with my teammates and the employees, I’m actually glad to be right here.”
Last item. Have you ever ever talked with Maignan and Kalulu about that aim in Salzburg-Milan?
“Mike advised me it was luck, as a result of the ball went via his legs, however on the dribble on Kalulu there is no such thing as a query, I used to be in search of it. Moreover… a aim is at all times a aim.”