AC Milan players were not too happy about coming to Malta for a winter training camp 10 years ago, former Italian international and Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has revealed.
We were a team struggling to fulfil our potential, but that's where we became a team.- Gennaro Gattuso
But the seven-day January retreat proved to be a winning tonic for the club's players, helping them gel and come together as a team.
Speaking to Milan TV on the 10th anniversary of the club's 3-0 Champions League semi-final win over Manchester United, Gattuso recalled how the Malta training camp did the squad good, despite players' reservations.
"The club sent us to Malta for a winter training camp out of spite, because it's not like it was all that warm over there. We were used to Dubai and a different standard of hotel," the fiery midfielder and current manager of Pisa said.
"We were a team struggling to fulfil our potential, but that's where we became a team."
Milan landed in Malta on January 2, 2007 under a cloud of bad press, with the team 12th in Serie A and a massive 28 points behind leaders Inter. But by the end of the season the club would be toasted across the continent, having been crowed champions of Europe.
During their week-long stay in Malta, the team held two training sessions a day and also played a friendly against Birkirkara FC at the National Stadium in Ta' Qali.
The club would go on to eke out a fourth place finish in the Italian league and shone in Europe, beating Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, Manchester United in the semi-finals and finally defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the final to capture their seventh-ever Champions League crown.
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