Ruben Loftus-Cheek finally said goodbye to English football this summer after years of injury, inconsistency and the impossible task of living up to years of built-up potential. And almost immediately, he completely revived his reputation in Milan.
Over the years it has felt like the midfielder has always been on the cusp of greatness, but also far away from it for a variety of reasons.
After joining Chelsea at just eight years old, Loftus-Cheek rose through the ranks and eventually found himself making his first-team debut in 2015, in what many predicted would be the start of an illustrious career. Maybe that’s how it was supposed to be, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t happening.
Injuries, managerial changes and the web of the Chelsea loan cycle took over, and Loftus-Cheek went from being the next big thing to being an ‘almost’ man with an identity crisis, stuck between multiple rebuilding projects at Stamford Bridge.
Until Milan’s call came.
A new country, a new focus away from the noise of the Premier League. It’s exactly what Loftus-Cheek needed. And after seeing how former Chelsea colleague Fikayo Tomori has performed since joining the club in 2020, it will have been very difficult to say no.
Just six games into the Serie A season, Loftus-Cheek is already playing as if the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. Drinking coffee to his heart’s content and wandering around the style capital of the world on his days off, the playwright has not yet fully recovered in Milan, but already looks reborn.
Linking up with Tomori and a few other ex-Chelsea boys under the tutelage of Stefano Pioli, he has fitted into the team like a glove and has quickly endeared himself to the Rossoneri, recently scoring on his first appearance for the historic club. With goal.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek scores his first goal for AC Milan!
And what a goal it was! pic.twitter.com/3PvD2p2iGT
– Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) 27 September 2023
A goal is a goal no matter how it lands in the back of the net, but there’s something extra that comes with a strike as sexy as Loftus-Cheek’s first strike for Milan.
Strolling to the edge of the box with all the finesse in the world, Cagliari’s players make the crucial mistake of not checking their shoulders as Christian Pulisic delivers a cross into the feet of the Englishman.
All he needs is one touch, one look at the goal ahead of him, and the sheer audacity to rip the ball off his feet to fire the ball past the helpless Boris Radunovic into the home team goal.
However, it is not just the goals that point to Loftus-Cheek becoming a certified Milan legend in due time. It was fantastic, his reaction after the match tells you everything about the character of the 27-year-old.
“I am very happy with the victory. It was a tough match, they scored but we stayed mentally strong and managed to come back,” he told DAZN In his assessment of the game, he added: “Three important points, very happy with the first goal, I’m Hopefully the first of many.
“We want to fight for the Scudetto and these are the games you have to win if you want to compete for the title.”
Already talking like a champ. After being left out in the cold at Chelsea and on loan to Crystal Palace and Fulham, he is relishing the chance to be a hero at one of the world’s most famous clubs.
Forget the journey of revenge. Ruben has arrived, he is here to stay and he is ready to conquer Italy one golazo at a time.
By Mitch Wilkes
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