Achraf Hakimi reveals how Antonio Conte convinced him to make £36m Inter Milan move in their first phone call… as full-back insists Serie A champions project ‘can take us to dominate Italy and Europe’
- Achraf Hakimi joined Inter Milan in a £36m deal from Real Madrid in September
- The 22-year-old has helped Inter win their first league title since 2009-10
- He revealed one phone call from Antonio Conte was enough for him to join
- The Moroccan also believes Inter are primed to dominate in Italy and in Europe
Achraf Hakimi has revealed Antonio Conte convinced him to join Inter Milan last summer during their first phone call.
The 22-year-old full-back joined the Italian giants in a £36million deal from Real Madrid in September last year following two years on loan at Borussia Dortmund.
The Morocco international’s first season in Serie A has been a fruitful one, contributing seven goals and nine assists in the club’s first title-winning campaign since the 2009-10 treble-winning season.
Achraf Hakimi (right) has revealed one phone call from Antonio Conte (left) was enough to convince him to join Inter Milan
Hakimi has contributed seven goals and nine assists in Inter’s first title-winning season since 2009-10
And speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek, Hakimi has now revealed discussions about what he wants to gain from the game, combined with Conte’s winning ambition, left him with no hesitation about joining Inter.
‘I was convinced by the ambition of the project at this club and Conte’s words in our first phone call,’ Hakimi said.
‘He called to ask what I wanted from my future, then explained how we would play and my decisive role in his aggressive style of football, as the fifth man between defence and midfield.
‘Then, he said we would win. We talked a lot and, seeing how things went, I can say that I made the right choice. I knew that straight away.
The Moroccan said the Italian’s winning ambition left him with no hesitation about joining
‘Conte’s greatest strength is that he brings everything out of his players. He taught me to focus not just about attacking, but also defending, and I learned an aspect of the game that I didn’t really know very well. I have improved a great deal over the last year.
‘He works on the details and that makes it easier for us once we are in a match situation, knowing there are no surprises, because we prepared for every situation we might face.’
Inter Milan’s financial woes – which reports estimate to amount to £548m of crippling debt – has led to several of their star players such as Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Hakimi himself being linked with moves away.
Reports over the last few months have suggested both Arsenal and Chelsea are monitoring his situation, but the 22-year-old has no intention of walking away from Conte’s plans, believing they could lead Inter to dominating domestically and on the continent.
The 22-year-old is now backing him and his team-mates to dominate in Italy and in Europe
‘There is a project here that started with the arrival of Conte and several young players,’ he added.
‘If it continues, we could open up a whole era that can take us to dominate Italy and Europe.
‘We’ve already changed our mentality, as winning the Scudetto made us stronger mentally, so we’ve now got what it takes to be protagonists in the Champions League.
‘I am very happy here, so are my wife and my son Amin. I cannot know what the future holds, but I am happy here now and hope to continue playing and winning here for a long time to come.’
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