The countdown is on until A.C. Milan’s first match of the 2020/2021 Serie A season at home to Bologna.
In exclusive footage from Skrill News, players including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and Samu Castillejo can be seen preparing at Milanello for the opener – a game manager Stefano Pioli will be keen to claim three points in.
Watch the video below to see the players in training.
The short clip shows the stars boosting their fitness after having only a short lay-off between seasons because of the coronavirus break.
The coaches were joined by technical director Paolo Maldini and sporting director Frederic Massara to monitor the condition of the players, focusing on the team’s speed and sharpness.
Pioli, who guided Milan to a sixth-place finish in the league, won more points in 2020 than all but one other Serie A club.
He knows that he owes his side's recent success to their hard work and determination.
He told us last month: “Our secret was the work we put in. We have grown as a team and our self-esteem has increased. During the break, the owners made us feel safe even though the country was facing difficulties due to the coronavirus.”
Pioli has been keen to allow his team to recharge their batteries during pre-season, giving the players a three-week break before getting back to it with four friendlies – winning all four.
On Thursday, the Rossoneri played their first Europa League qualifying match, beating Irish side Shamrock Rovers 2-0. Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu were on the score sheet.
The team will now face Norwegian side FK Bodo/Glimt in the third qualifying round on Thursday - three days after their match with Bologna.
With the aim to progress through the competition and compete at the top of Serie A, Pioli is keen to make a good start in the league on Monday to help meet the club’s goal of achieving Champions League qualification for 2021/2022.
He told the press: “We must continue to grow; the next matches will be difficult. We are Milan, we must improve and maintain the highest level possible. Milan must play to win, and we will do it. We have the conditions to do so.
We have been proving to be at a high level since January, we have to grow and improve. The Norwegians are strong, but we must first think about Bologna."