African All Stars

Hakimi: How elimination from Champions League helped Inter Milan win Serie A title

1:17 PM WAT 15/05/2021
Achraf Hakimi, Inter 2021
The Morocco international has explained a number of reasons that motivated the Black and Blues to clinch the Italian top-flight trophy

Achraf Hakimi has revealed Inter Milan’s elimination from the Champions League and other competitions helped the club to win the Serie A title.

The 22-year-old played a significant role in helping the Black and Blues clinch the Italian league trophy after a 10-year wait.

Hakimi found the back of the net seven times and provided nine assists in 35 league appearances as his contribution for Inter this season so far.

The Morocco international revealed a number of reasons that propelled the Black and Blues to win the league title.

“There are three moments that really sum up our season: our exit from Europe, the victory over Juventus and the second Milan derby win that allowed us to go four points clear of the Rossoneri,” Hakimi told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek, as per Football Italia.

“When we were eliminated from the Champions League and all European competition, we told ourselves that we couldn’t let the league slip through our fingers too.”

Hakimi teamed up with Inter last summer from Real Madrid for a fee of €40 million after his eye-catching performances for Borussia Dortmund and has revealed how Antonio Conte convinced him to make the move.

“I was convinced by the ambition of the project at this club and Conte’s words in our first phone call. He called to ask what I wanted from my future, then explained how we would play and my decisive role in his aggressive style of football, as the fifth man between defence and midfield,’ he continued.

“Then, he said we would win. We talked a lot and, seeing how things went, I can say that I made the right choice. I knew that straight away.

“Conte’s greatest strength is that he brings everything out of his players. He taught me to focus not just about attacking, but also defending, and I learned an aspect of the game that I didn’t really know very well.

"I have improved a great deal over the last year.

“He works on the details and that makes it easier for us once we are in a match situation, knowing there are no surprises, because we prepared for every situation we might face.”

Hakimi signed a five-year contract with the Black and Blues and revealed he is enjoying his stay at San Siro while looking forward to helping the club achieve their set goals.

“There is a project here that started with the arrival of Conte and several young players. If it continues, we could open up a whole era that can take us to dominate Italy and Europe,” he added.

“We’ve already changed our mentality, as winning the Scudetto made us stronger mentally, so we’ve now got what it takes to be protagonists in the Champions League.

“I am very happy here, so are my wife and my son Amin. I cannot know what the future holds, but I am happy here now and hope to continue playing and winning here for a long time to come.”

Hakimi will be expected to feature when Inter Milan take on Juventus in their next league game on Saturday evening.