Retiring Montolivo 'disrespected' but holds no grudge with AC Milan

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Riccardo Montolivo insists he holds no grudge with AC Milan even as he retires 18 months on from his final Serie A appearance.

The 34-year-old has been without a club since his Milan contract ran out at the end of the 2018-19 season and has now decided to call a halt to his career.

However, Montolivo had not played a professional match since a 1-1 draw at Atalanta on May 13, 2018, being named on the bench 17 times in Serie A last term without making a single appearance.

Discussing his retirement with Corriere dello Sport, Montolivo revealed he had accepted a fringe role for his final campaign at the club but was disappointed not to feature at all.

"I last played in May 2018, at Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, the same stadium where I had started sixteen years before," he said.

"I had two seasons at Atalanta, seven at Fiorentina and seven at Milan, although the last year-and-a-half has been an ordeal. I was marginalised, answers were never given.

"I don't hold a grudge. Those who have been wrong with me, those who have disrespected me, repeatedly, will probably come to terms with their conscience."

Montolivo added of Gennaro Gattuso, his last coach at Milan: "In the end, I also received the compliments of the coach.

"And do you know what he added? That he would have been crazy had he been in my place. I felt cheated once more."

Montolivo lost the Milan captaincy to Leonardo Bonucci upon the latter's arrival from Juventus in 2017, a decision made without any input from the deposed skipper.

"I didn't deliver [the armband] to him," the midfielder said. "They told me that [then owner] Li Yonghong had decided the armband would be passed to one of the new signings.

"When they told me about it, I explained that I found it unfair, that they were making a big mistake because there are hierarchies in the locker room that should always be respected.

"I put forward the names of [Giacomo] Bonaventura and [Alessio] Romagnoli. But nothing - Bonucci.

"In today's football, everyone thinks for himself. Solidarity, the sense of the group, this is stuff of the past. Anyway, [his team-mates] couldn't do anything."