MILAN – Joint-CEO Adriano Galliani has given an interview to the Japanese daily Nippon Sports and which has also been published on the website www.sponichi.co.jp. The subject of the interview was Milan’s samurai and number 10 Keisuke Honda and was conducted with Italian journalist Alberto Costa.
On the attacking midfielder’s contract and future: "Keisuke Honda’s contract expires on June 30, 2017. There is no rush to renew. We will talk about it in good time and at the right moment. We will be focusing first of all on those players whose contracts expire this June. It’s rare that Milan renew a contract a long time before it expires. With that in mind, it isn’t the moment to talk about Honda’s contract. There is no reason to rush a decision that can be taken calmly. Honda has never asked to leave Milan. He is happy in the city of Milan and at the club. I guarantee it. Forget everything that is written in the Italian papers. A month ago I met up with Keisuke’s brother, who is his agent, and there are no problems. We agree on everything and we are happy with Honda’s performances. He is always playing and he is a permanent fixture in the team. I want to reassure the fans in Japan: there is no rush."
Honda has impressed Galliani on and off the pitch: "We are very happy with him. He is a model professional. The Japanese are like that. They are soldiers, they are precise, punctual, professional. They always give 100%. No one at the club has a bad word to say about him. He may play one match well and another one not as well, because it’s hard to always be at your best over the course of the season, but you can rest assured he will always give his all. Honda embodies the Japanese spirit: he gives 100% in everything that he does. He chases after opponents, he battles, he never stops. Unfortunately, you cannot say that about other players."
The Milan CEO was keen to clarify a few things: "What Honda says in Japan is misrepresented in Italy. His comments are translated from Japanese into English and then from English into Italian… and the meaning changes. I was never angry with him for his comments. We understand that if he is critical, he does so with good intentions and not to create problems for the team or the club. Of course, I spoke to him after that incident, and we’re often in contact. I explained to him that if he speaks to the press in Japan he has to be careful because his words in Italy will be misinterpreted."
Closing comments from Galliani on the midfielder: "We have always wanted to keep Honda. No one has asked about buying him. During the transfer windows, there is always contact with international agents. But when you explain to them that a player is not for sale, generally they don’t take it further. Honda has had a very positive season. He has played a lot, nearly always. Let’s hope his good season can coincide with a positive end for the club too and by winning the TIM Cup. Honda is like a robot… and there is no gossip to report about him!"