Ruben Loftus-Cheek finally waved 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’s completely revived his reputation in Milan.
For years it’s felt like the midfielder has always been on the very edge of greatness, but at the same time so far away from it for a multitude of reasons.
Joining Chelsea at just eight years old, Loftus-Cheek rose through the ranks and would eventually find himself making a first-team debut in 2015, the beginning of what many predicted would be a glittering career. It probably should’ve been that, but for whatever reason, it just wasn’t happening.
Injuries, managerial changes and the trap that is the Chelsea loan cycle took over, and Loftus-Cheek went from the next big thing to the ‘nearly’ man in complete identity crisis, stuck between several rebuilding projects at Stamford Bridge.
Until Milan came calling.
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 fared since joining the club in 2020, it would’ve been extremely difficult to say no.
Just six games into the Serie A season, Loftus-Cheek is already playing like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. Drinking coffee to his heart’s content and strolling around the style capital of the world on his days off, the playmaker is barely at full stride yet in Milan but already looks reborn.
Linking up with Tomori and a few other ex-Chelsea boys under the tutelage of Stefano Pioli, he’s fit into the side like a glove and has endeared himself immediately to the Rossoneri, most recently with his maiden goal for the historic club.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek bags his first goal for AC Milan! 🔥
And what a goal it was! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/3PvD2p2iGT
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) September 27, 2023
A goal is a goal no matter how it hits the back of the net, but there’s just something extra that comes with a strike as sexy as Loftus-Cheek’s first one for Milan.
Meandering to the edge of the box with all the subtlety in the world, Cagliari players make the crucial mistake of not checking their shoulder as Christian Pulisic lays a cross into the feet of the Englishman.
All he needs is one touch, a look up to the goal ahead of him, and the sheer audacity to rifle his laces through the ball to send it bouncing past a helpless Boris Radunovic in the home side’s goal.
It’s not just the goal that points towards Loftus-Cheek becoming a certified Milan legend in due time, though. Exquisite as it was, his post-match reaction tells you all about the 27-year-old’s character.
“I’m very happy with the win. It was a difficult match, they scored but we remained strong mentally and managed to come back,” He told DAZN in his assessment of the game, adding: “Three important points, very happy with the first goal, I hope the first of many.
“We want to fight for the Scudetto and these are games you have to win if you want to compete for the title.”
Talking like a winner already. After being left out in the cold at Chelsea and sent packing on loans to Crystal Palace and Fulham, he’s relishing the chance to become a hero at one of the world’s most storied clubs.
Forget a revenge tour. Ruben’s arrived, he’s here to stay and he’s ready to conquer Italy, one golazo at a time.
By Mitch Wilks