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Kobe Bryant: "AC Milan has always been my favourite football team"

Shravan SANDY
2.09K   //    21 Jul 2013, 11:45 IST
Kobe Bryant was at the Milanello as he recovers from an Achilles injury. (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant was at the Milanello as he recovers from an Achilles injury. (Getty Images)

Italian football club AC Milan woke up to find a surprise visitor, in the form of American professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant at their doorstep on Saturday.

The LA Lakers star, who is currently recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his season last year, made a guest appearance at Milan’s state-of-the-art training centre, Milanello, where he took time off to talk to Milan Channel about his favourite football club since childhood and meet up with some of his beloved Milan stars.

“I watched Milan play when I was a kid. They had stars like (Ruud) Gullit, (Frank) Rijkaard, (Marco) Van Basten and (Paolo) Maldini then.

“Milan has always been my favourite team and it’s always in my heart. I keep a Milan shirt and scarf in my locker room in Los Angeles so I can look at them every day,” the 34-year-old said.

“It’s an honour for me to be here. I hav been a big fan of Milan since I was a kid and It was always a dream of mine to come to Milanello. I’m on vacation here but I am also working to recover from my injury.”

When interrogated on his basketball career, he exclaimed: “It takes a lot of hard work to become a champion. When you wake up in the morning, you must start working as if it was the last day of your life. This is the mentality that I have. It’s the reason I changed my jersey number to 24 as it signifies that I’m available for the team 24 hours a day.”

Bryant sustained the tendon injury just 12 weeks ago and was expected to be rested for six to nine months. He was at the training centre to work on recovering from the injury.

When asked about his return to the wooden court, he was quoted as saying: “It’s difficult to say when I’ll return to playing as there’s not much I can do.

“I’m becoming stronger every day and I hope to return in November or December. Nigel De Jong sustained the same injury as I did and he’s younger than me. I hope that the result of his recovery will be the same as mine.

“Next season I want to win the NBA. That’s always the dream. When you start any season you always want to win the championship. It’s the only thing that counts,” he added.

The ‘Black Mamba’ was greeted by Milan players Andrea Poli and Daniele Bonera. He signed autographs as well as took pictures with players and staff.

Bryant admitted that Italian and Milan striker Mario Balotelli was his favourite footballer in recent times and expressed his desire that the 22-year old footballer become much greater than he is right now.

On asked whether he would train with the Milan squad if given a choice, the five-time NBA champ said: “Training with Milan one day? Yes, why not? I will come here to play and have fun. You can make me the goalkeeper and shoot at me.”

Source: Daily Milan

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Shravan SANDY
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