Christian Abbiati has said that while he ordinarily supports Atletico Madrid, his backing is firmly behind Milan tonight.
The goalkeeper spent a season on loan at Vicente Calderon between 2007 and 2008 and Los Colchoneros made a strong impression.
But Abbiati, now back at Milan, insists his loyalty won’t be divided during the Champions League game between the sides.
Asked by Marca if he was still a Rojiblanco, Abbiati said he is every other night.
“I left my heart there. It was a fantastic experience both of the field and with the staff and my family was very happy,” the 37-year-old explained.
“I watch all their games, also because I love La Liga. I hope to find warmth and much care [in the return leg] because I have not forgotten Atleti.”
Abiatti disagreed with the suggestion of Milan teammate Sulley Muntari that Atletico were the weakest team in the draw.
“They may not be so well known but I know they are very good and very well organised,” Abbiati countered.
“Atletico deserve a lot of respect because they are having an incredible season. A great team.”
Abbiati also disputed that it is a disadvantage for Milan to be led by an inexperienced Coach, Clarence Seedorf, who was only appointed in January for his first managerial role.
“On paper it is but the Champions League transmits a different energy.
“We know this competition well so I’m sure that will balance the small disadvantage. I see a very even tie in all areas.”
Abbiati added that he has been particularly impressed by Thibaut Courtois’ performances in the Atletico goal.
“I see a quiet guy in goal but with a spectacular future. He makes everything look easy,” Abbiati said of the Belgian.