Hakan Calhanoglu admits that it was not easy to make the jump from AC Milan to city rivals Inter Milan.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster SportMediaset, via FCInterNews, the 29-year-old went on to say that he immediately felt that he was at home when he crossed the derby divide to join the Nerazzurri.
Calhanoglu made waves when he joined Inter on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. The Turkish international had spent the four previous season playing for the Nerazzurri’s city rivals Milan.
However, Calhanolgu decided to leave the Rossoneri when his contract ran out. This move naturally did not endear him to the Milan fans. Or, for that matter, some of his teammates.
The Rossoneri players singled out Calhanoglu for taunting after they won the Serie A title at Inter’s expense last season.
However, on the flip side, Calhanoglu has found great acceptance from the Inter fans. Nerazzurri supporters always seemed to appreciate the effort that the former Bayer Leverkusen man made to fit in right away.
Moreover, after the pain of missing out on the Scudetto last campaign, Calhanoglu has gotten some measure of revenge.
This time around, Inter managed to knock their city rivals out of the Champions League at the semifinal stage.
Hakan Calhanoglu: Moving From AC Milan To Inter Not Easy But Worth It
“I remember my first day at Inter,” Calhanoglu looked back. “When I arrived from Milan” Calhanoglu started.
“Everyone knew it wasn’t an easy move for me to make,” he continued. “But the club and my teammates made me feel very welcome. I was very happy here right away.”
Of playing the Champions League final in Turkey, Calhanoglu said that “I love Istanbul, it’s the most beautiful city for me.”
“I enjoy it every time I go there,” he continued.
The Turkish international noted that “Our culture is very interesting, I can’t wait to be there.”
“I’m very happy to play the final in my country.”
At the suggestion that hosting this final can be an opportunity for Turkey to lift morale after the tragic earthquake that rocked the country, Calhanoglu said that “As captain, I have to do something for my country in difficult moments like these.”
“We’re trying to help them, we aren’t stopping,” he continued. “I hope the final gives my compatriots some joy.”
Of his opposite number in the final, national teammate Ilkay Gundogan, Calhanoglu said that “I have great respect for him. He’s the captain at City, a great player.”
“But it won’t be easy for him either,” he continued.
However Calhanoglu added “I respect him because he’s more experienced than me, but I’ll do everything to beat him.”
And of the prospect of winning the Champions League, Calhnaoglu said that “It’s very close, it’s normal to dream a little.”
“I have to be honest,” the Turk continued.
“I knew we could reach the final and I want to be the first Turkish player to lift that trophy,” he continued.
“And we’re playing in Istanbul, in my country.
“I hope the dream comes true,” the Inter midfielder concluded.