Hakan Calhanoglu reiterated his belief that he’s ‘among the best’ in the world in his role, naming a few examples behind him, and spoke about his redevelopment at Inter.

The 30-year-old Turkish midfielder joined the Nerazzurri on a free transfer in the summer of 2021 after his contract ended with Milan, making the shock decision to move across the city, upsetting the Rossoneri fan base.

Calhanoglu played in an attacking midfielder role for Milan, but Simone Inzaghi redeveloped him at Inter, deploying him in a deeper regista role in a five-man midfield. He has shined in this position, reinventing his career.

Speaking to DAZN via Calciomercato.com, Calhanoglu first discussed his self-confidence in his role.

“Months ago, I said I was among the best regista in the world, and no one believed me. But I always believe in myself, I know my qualities and I’m not afraid of anyone.”

The Turkish midfielder was asked to give his top five regista rankings.

“Fifth Enzo Fernandez, fourth Kimmich, third Kroos, second Rodri, first Calhanoglu.”

He commented on his desire to play longer balls and shots instead of closer-range efforts.

“I score goals and do what the others don’t. If you check, I never score from close range, but from 25-30 meters out or from a free kick. These are difficult things. And if you look the others don’t do it like me.

“Then everyone is good at passing, but I don’t like playing passes five meters away. I always look for the final pass, to increase the possibility of scoring. Giving it to the right or left doesn’t help me.”

The Inter midfielder touched on how he deals with being focused on.

“Now the opponents will try to mark me man-to-man, as in the first half against Roma. I was in difficulty. I have to make more space and be more intelligent in these situations, but with Barella and Mkhitaryan helping we succeed.

“Then in the defensive phase I’ve grown, but I have to improve, I analyse the videos with the staff and I still make mistakes.”

Calhanoglu was asked how it would feel to win the second Scudetto star before Milan.

“I’m not looking at this, everyone looks at themselves and we do that too. Then we’ll see. We fight for everything, of course Inter always have an objective and we are there.”

He reflected on why he didn’t play as a regista at the Rossoneri.

“At Milan I wasn’t ready, here when it happened I was. I immediately said yes because I wanted to test myself.

“When you’re at the right age it weighs on you less. For my journey in recent months, it’s been very important.”

He discussed his relationship with Inzaghi.

“I always speak well of him, he called me to come here after the European Championship. I thank him. Then he put me in that role. He deserves it, he is a person who doesn’t talk much but has a warm heart towards the players.

“He knows how to behave. If we look at our path since the first year, we have had great growth together, the players know it too.”

The Turkish midfielder touched on his on-pitch idols.

“Veron, a great player, I liked his wickedness, he always wanted to win. Then great feet. Busquets is a great player, but honestly there are others that I prefer. Technically very strong, he knows how to manage the game but for me he was always too slow, and I don’t like slow registas.

“Modric has a lot of stuff, a friend I know well. An example, also for what he is still doing at his age. I would take mentality and professionalism from him. He is a very good person. I like Xabi Alonso, I like his passing, he had nice feet and great intelligence. Pirlo is my idol. I know him well.

“I like how he was on the pitch, his serenity. He didn’t feel the stress. The number one. My agent told me he saw me as Pirlo, I didn’t believe it. I said I felt like a number 10, but time has proven that he was right. But Pirlo is Pirlo, he’s won a lot, and I can’t be put on his level.”

Finally, Calhanoglu discussed his happiness at Inter.

“Yes, I love Inter. When I arrived here Piero (Ausilio, ed.), the coach and my teammates gave me a big hand. This is a huge family. In the end the club always decides. I have already said that the decision is theirs, but I want to stay here.

“At Inter I feel reborn. I had a difficult period, but here they lifted me up, I matured as a man. I am an emotional person, I lived a difficult situation but everyone here helped me.

“Then the song that the fans dedicated to me gave me even more energy. This is why I say that for me Inter are different, it can’t be explained…”

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