Although he spent just a two-year spell at AC Milan, Riccardo Saponara has opened up on just how big a nightmare that period was for him.
After impressing for Empoli under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri, he earned a move to the Rossoneri in 2013 but would go on to make just eight appearances before returning to Tuscany in 2015.
The 25-year-old has revealed just how difficult a time that was for him personally but also for Milan as a club as they lurched through disappointing seasons under various coaches.
“It was a very dark period for me,” he told La Repubblica. “The dressing room was split there and there were a lot of problems at the club.
“On the one hand you had the Italians [on one side of the dressing room] and then on the other, you had the foreign players. In addition to that there were also three coaches which didn’t help.
“I’m thankful that [Giampaolo] Pazzini was there. He was really nice and helpful towards me. When I signed for Fiorentina, he sent me a message saying: ‘Florence is special, it will be great there’. Pazzo is a real friend.”
Saponara’s standout displays upon his return to the Stadio Carlo Castellani earned him a January switch to the Viola.