Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel has revealed the reasons behind his decision to leave Stamford Bridge and join AC Milan on loan.
The Dutchman joined Chelsea in 2013 for a fee of around £8 million and was tipped for success in west London. However he made just three appearances for the club before picking up a serious knee ligament injury which kept him out of action for six months.
By the time he returned to full fitness Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had reinforced his midfield options by landing Nemanja Matic from Benfica during the January window, limiting his chances of first team football.
The writing was on the wall for the dynamic midfielder when he was left out of Chelsea's 23-man squad for the Champions League and he subsequently completed a season-long loan move to AC Milan during the summer window.
"Milan were interested in me for a long time and they wanted to buy me from Chelsea, they followed me when I played at Vitesse and during the European Under-21 Championships, I think when we played against Italy," Van Ginkel told Dutch paper Omroep Gelderland.
“Chelsea? I have not been put on the Champions League list, whilst there are also many foreigners in the squad, so someone had to leave.” - Marco van Ginkel
“Of course I already knew De Jong, Essien and Torres and this made things a little easier.
“Chelsea? I have not been put on the Champions League list, whilst there are also many foreigners in the squad, so someone had to leave.”
So far Van Ginkel has made just one appearance for his new club - but was forced from the field after just 31 minutes in the 2-2 draw with Empoli last month with what appeared to be another serious injury. However he's returned to first team training and could feature for Milan in their game against Verona on Sunday.
Although he'll return to Chelsea next year, Van Ginkel says he is focused solely on helping restore Milan to their former glory.
He said: "Milan are a great club - last year they finished eighth, but they do not want to repeat that. This club has often won big trophies, at training there are always many fans asking for autographs, it is nice to be here.
“Almost everyone speaks Italian here. The Coach barely speaks English, I am taking Italian lessons and understand more and more, but of course it is very difficult, and I am not here long."