Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie has revealed how he earned the nickname ‘Presidente’ (The President).
Kessie, who was unveiled by Barcelona on Wednesday after joining as a free agent, and told of how confusion at the AC Milan parking lot saw him land in trouble.
🗣 Kessie speaks on his nickname: 'Il Presidente' pic.twitter.com/3b4dWDyLuX— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 6, 2022
“When I was in Milan, one day I arrived at the training centre and parked my car where the president parked and the security guy came over and told me to park somewhere else. Since that day, they started calling me the new president,” said Kessie, who spent five years at Milan.
The 25-year-old midfielder has signed a four-year contract at Barcelona after seven years in Italy, in which he has grown his presence after turning out for Atalanta and Milan.
Kessie, whose idol is compatriot and former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, is the latest addition to a packed Blaugurana midfield that has the likes of Sergio Busquets, Frankie de Jong as well as teenage sensations Gavi and Pedri.
The Ivorian will offer coach Xavi Hernandez an alternative skillset given he can play deeper in midfield and also offensively. A mainstay in the Milan midfield, Kessie’s forward runs saw him notch 37 goals while providing 16 assists in 223 games for the Rossoneri.
He managed seven in all competitions last season while playing in a deeper role, having notched 13 the season before when he was played in a more advanced position, and this is something Barcelona will greatly benefit from given none of their midfielders boasts such numbers.
"It is a great opportunity. I really want to start and do my best for this team. When a great coach like Xavi calls you, who has been a great player, you see that all your efforts have been worth it. I can't wait to start working with him and with my teammates,” said the player.
Kessie has taken his game to the highest level in the last three years as Milan rose from also-rans to title challengers, culminating in their Scudetto win last season.
He was named in the Serie A team of the Year in 2020-21 when the Rossoneri finished second before ending their 11-year title drought by pipping cross-town rivals Inter Milan by two points on the final day of the 2021-22 campaign.