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Bow Your Heads in Respect!

Claudio Villa

MILAN - The official presentation of Keisuke Honda has taken place at the San Siro, with Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani introducing the new signing to the gathered press and media from all over the world.

Galliani
: "A warm welcome to Honda, the 110 journalists with 50 of those from Japan. Honda is the first Japanese player to wear the Milan shirt, he will be given the number 10 shirt, worn by Ruud Gullit, Savicevic, Boban, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Boateng. His dream was to play for Milan and to become a Milan player with the number 10 jersey, so we were happy to help him achieve his dream. Welcome and thanks for being here from the heart."

There was then a video presentation speaking about his background and arrival at Milan filmed in the San Siro.

Honda then took questions from the journalists and the first one was about his impressions on arriving at Milanello to meet his new team-mates and then visiting the San Siro.

Honda
: "It’s been exciting and I'm really happy to be here. I always said that I would play in the Serie A and wear the number 10 shirt. I was desperate to come here and play and delighted about the interest in me and I want to thank Galliani and the club for this transfer. I want to show what I can do on the pitch. My career was destined to be here and my heart was set on Milan.

I think that Kakà and Balotelli are the number ones in the world and I am looking forward to playing alongside them. We will try and win the title next year and become champions together."

Will you play against Sassuolo?

Honda
: "I don’t know because I haven’t played for a while, I have to prepare well and when the moment is right I will be ready for it. In these months though, I have kept my fitness up."

Galliani
: "Milan have been in Japan many times, jet lag is something to take into account. It takes time to get used to the time difference, so arriving a week ahead of the match, I am not a coach or a doctor, but I would go with caution about playing against Sassuolo. He has a three-year contract so he has plenty of time. Please excuse the interruption but that needed to be said."

Why was Milan a dream? Who are the players from the past that you appreciate the most in Milan's history? What do you want to win?

Honda
: "I wanted to come here, to be a champion here with the club, but I am thinking about the Champions League. I know all the players and as a child I watched the matches on TV every week, Serie A is the most famous league in Japan, I can't say just one player, I like many and respect many so it is hard to say."

What do you want to achieve here?

Honda
: "I understand there are high expectations and I have got to show what I am capable of, to score many goals, provide assists. I will do my best."

What can you give to help the team climb the table?

Honda
: "As I mentioned, I need to score goals, provide assists and there are many things I need to do and can do. I don’t think the side are doing that badly, I saw the match on Monday, they played great, I can give my contribution. We can probably improve a lot.

I said in many interviews, for me football is my life. Milan seems like a nice city and I have been to a few restaurants but I only want to train hard, rest well and win. That is what matters to me in my life. I know the club will help me a lot straight from the start. I can play in any position but if I had to choose I would like to play behind the striker, as an attacking midfielder."

There have been comparisons with Beckham in your own country but do you feel any pressure?

Honda
: "I know my role which is to play well on the pitch, I like fashion, have dreams and want to be an example to the children, I try to behave as a professional and how a professional should behave. That’s who I am."

What about Italian football?

Honda
: "I think Italian football is based on tactics, it is defensive, I need to follow the coach’s instructions to adapt. I think the Japanese never give up, they have a strong mentality, they are very disciplined, so do have the right characteristics and this will be something I will take on to the pitch with me. Zaccheroni, the coach of Japan, advised me to come here. Milan are a top side in Serie A, so I will give everything."