Milan new signing Piatek: I was born ready

              FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2018 file photo, Genoa's Krzysztof Piatek reacts after scoring his side's opening goal during an Italian Serie A soccer match between Roma and Genoa, at the Olympic stadium in Rome. The same day Gonzalo Higuain joined Chelsea, Piatek completed a move to Milan for a reported 35 million euros. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan has lost its most proven scorer and replaced him with a relatively unproven one.

However, while Gonzalo Higuain failed to shine during his six months on loan from Juventus, Krzysztof Piatek set Serie A alight in the opening half of the season. And the same day Higuain joined Chelsea, Piatek completed a move to Milan for a reported 35 million euros.

It is a significant step up for the young Polish forward, who was an unknown when he joined Genoa at the beginning of the season from Cracovia for around 4 million euros ($4.5 million).

“I was born ready,” the 23-year-old Piatek said at a news conference on Thursday. “I’m ready now and I’ll do everything to get Milan back into the Champions League. I’ll fight for Milan. I hope I can show my talent in every game. I could say anything here, but everything will be decided on the field.”

Piatek will be hoping his debut for Milan is as memorable as his first match for Genoa, when he scored four goals in a victory in the Italian Cup.

That debut could come on Saturday when Milan hosts Napoli — Higuain’s old club.

Milan currently occupies fourth spot and the final Champions League qualifying berth but it has only one more point than Roma and two more than Lazio. Second-place Napoli is 13 points ahead of Milan and nine behind Juventus, which is on a seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title.

Milan sorely lacked an out-and-out goalscorer last season and hoped Higuain would be the answer to its problems. But the Argentina forward scored just eight times in 22 appearances for Milan in all competition. Piatek in contrast netted 13 league goals for Genoa.

Piatek has also scored one goal in his two appearances for Poland, making his international debut in September.

“I’ve always believed in myself,” Piatek said. “I wanted to show something good in Serie A when I joined Genoa. It’s important for me to score because I’m a striker. I’m the same person as before I joined Genoa.”

Piatek is Milan’s second signing of the January transfer window, following the arrival of Lucas Paqueta from Flamengo, and was flanked at his news conference by former Rossoneri players Leonardo and Paolo Maldini, who are now the club’s sporting director and sporting strategy and development director, respectively. Many players say it has always been their dream to play for the club they sign for but in Piatek’s case it’s most certainly true.

A photo emerged this week of an 11-year-old Piatek at a pool with an AC Milan towel.

“I was a Rossoneri fan as a kid, it was my dream to play here and to be working with such legends as Leonardo and Paolo Maldini is a true pleasure,” Piatek said. “I have always admired Maldini, it’s a great honor to be here with him. I didn’t think this would happen.”