Italian international says squad is stronger and “more of a team”.
AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo says it is an honour to captain the club, and thanked Christian Abbiati and Daniele Bonera for passing the armband on to him.
Following the departure of Massimo Ambrosini this summer, tradition dictates that the captaincy is passed on the player who has been at the club the longest.
However, both Abbiati and Bonera agreed that the midfielder should be given the honour despite only joining the club last summer, as he is set to lead by example at the heart of the starting line-up.
Having overcome his initial struggles at the club, the 28-year-old has found his feet at San Siro and has become an integral part of Massimiliano Allegri’s squad.
While he is delighted by the prospect of leading Milan this season, he also believes that they have improved a great deal since last year.
“We’re more of a team than a year ago. We are stronger, we feel more ready,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport in an exclusive interview.
“Abbiati and Bonera were true gentlemen. To me, the band is an honour, but it is a weight that you have something to share with the others. At Milan, as I explained Ambrosini, it has always been so: there have always been 5 or 6 players to lead the group,” he added.
While Montolivo is looking forward to the Champions League play-off round with PSV later this month, he believes that Juventus are the favourites for the title this season, although there are several clubs who will be chasing them.
Fiorentina and Napoli have reinforced well, while he expects Milan, Inter and Roma to also be challenging when the season draws to a conclusion.
Montolivo was also asked if the responsibility of being captain will also mean he will speak to striker Mario Balotelli when he is wrong on the pitch.
However, he suggested that the Italian ace “does not need any special treatment”, and believes as he continues to improve and mature he will understand for himself how to handle the pressure.