AC Milan Star rejected Barcelona for Milan despite ‘idols’ Messi and Iniesta

Tijjani Reijnders looks up to Leo Messi and Andres Iniesta, but the Dutch midfielder chose Milan over Barcelona last summer because of the role the Rossoneri provided him.

The 25-year-old was one of many new additions made by the Serie A heavyweights this summer. Despite interest from Barcelona, he joined Milan from AZ Alkmaar for around €20 million.

“I didn’t have to think too hard. Milan was my first choice, according to the job,” Reijnders told Il Corriere della Sera.

“They explained to me how they wanted me to play and I knew it was the best solution.”

His selection is even more impressive given that Reijnders declared Messi his ‘idol’ and Iniesta his midfield role model.

“To be here is a dream come true. Van Basten, Gullit, and Rijkard come to mind. “It’s always been a special team for us Dutch,” concluded the Dutch midfielder.

“I like to help the team to score goals, run forward, and be creative, but I know defence is really important, especially in Italy.”


Reijnders: "I'm very happy and proud to be part of this great club"


Milan now leads Serie A, but what if Reijnders had to pick between the Scudetto and the Champions League?

“Surely the Scudetto because I know how much the second star means to the club and the fans,” said the Spaniard.

“The Champions League is also a dream of mine, so I came here.” We want to go as far as we can.

“We’ve done a fantastic job after losing the derby, so we’re at the top of the table.” We’ll attempt to win the second leg; we still have room to improve.”

The Rossoneri welcome Juventus at San Siro on Sunday night, but they have two more important games after that, against PSG in the Champions League and Napoli in Serie A.

“It’s one of the most crucial moments.” We have three important games coming up, two in Serie A and one in the Champions League. “We’ll try to win them all,” Reijnders stated.

“When we met them last summer, Juventus impressed me.” Dusan Vlahovic is a tough opponent. He has excellent quality, but so do we.”

Reijders also spoke about his relationship with Milan coach Stefano Pioli and his father Martin, a former professional Dutch footballer.

“Pioli and I get along well. It was challenging at first due to the language barrier, but I am now studying Italian and watching movies. It is, in my opinion, the best approach to learn.

“When I was a kid, my father would remind me and my brother that we needed to shoot more on target. So we struck a bargain. He would have rewarded us €50 for every two successful shots. We had to give him money if it didn’t happen. He came to regret it.”

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