Calhanoglu: ‘Inter stronger than Milan, Ibrahimovic too old for this’

Hakan Calhanoglu hit back at his former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic after insulting chants, insists Inter are ‘a much stronger team’ than Milan and reveals he told Simone Inzaghi he ‘contributed’ to the derby defeat.

Calhanoglu was at Milan from 2017 to 2021, when he left as a free agent after failing to agree a new contract and went across the city to their arch-rivals Inter.

“It was very difficult, as it was the same city and different colours, but I worked hard and knew this was my opportunity to join the reigning champions of Italy,” he told Tivibu Spor.

“Then when the team I joined didn’t win the Scudetto and my old club did, people acted like it was my fault. I am very happy at Inter, though, and the support of the fans is very helpful. I played at Milan for four years, but nobody ever chanted my name in the stands, whereas it happens every time I just warm up for Inter.”

He had declared the move was in order to win the Scudetto, so naturally the midfielder was the target of mockery when the Rossoneri took the Serie A title instead.

Specifically, Ibrahimovic was spotted making insulting chants towards Calhanoglu, while supporters waved around a blow-up doll wearing the Turkey international’s jersey.

“He is a 40-year-old man, not 18, so I wouldn’t do that sort of thing at his age. He just likes being the centre of attention. He didn’t contribute to the Scudetto this season, he barely played, but will do everything to be the focus anyway.

“Besides, he is the one who always calls me up, asks me to go out to dinner or for a motorbike ride. He wrote about me in his book too. He had to write something, or it would’ve been blank pages. It’s best not to bother, honestly.”

Calhanoglu still had a positive campaign at Inter, scoring eight goals and setting up 13 for his new teammates in 46 competitive games.

The Nerazzurri won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, in both cases beating Juventus in extra time for the final.

“Inter are a much stronger squad than Milan,” he insisted. “We lost a derby that changed suddenly at the 75th minute after Ivan Perisic and I were substituted. We were leading 1-0 and then lost 2-1, so the coach contributed to the defeat and I told him as much.

“In the Coppa Italia semi-final, we beat Milan 3-0.”

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