·27 September 2022
·27 September 2022
There are few people who understand what it means to represent AC Milan quite like Paolo Maldini does, given his incredible past with the club and the family ties.
Maldini has admitted that he sees himself as a guarantor of the Rossoneri’s current project, someone that fans can look to and feel secure that everything is being done to move the club forward. La Gazzetta dello Sport have picked out ten key points from his interview at the Trento Sports Festival, which you can read in full here.
“In my role I like to feel a bit of a guarantor of the Milan project, because I have strong Rossoneri roots. In the first six months as a manager I did not feel ready or adequate, I would go home and my wife who asked me how it had gone, I answered ‘let’s move on to the next question’. But now I am convinced that I took the opportunity at the right time.”
For someone like Maldini, accustomed to living on security acquired as a player, finding himself in a role of responsibility was daunting at first. However, just like in his early playing days, he has quickly learned the ropes and is thriving.
The Maldini surname is one that has been Rossonero for 70 years, something which Paolo admitted does weigh a bit, given that he rejected previous offers to come back to the club before Elliott Management took charge because he wanted it to be right.
“This surname has only brought annoyance to Daniel, and I know it well because I’ve been through it. But my family name is inextricably linked to this club, soon in Milanello there will be a stand named after my dad. The memory of him is alive.”
Maldini also uttered some interesting words on his impressions of the new owner Gerry Cardinale thus far, the founder of RedBird Capital and the man who negotiated the acquisition of the club (with his army of accomplices and lawyers) from Elliott.
“He is someone who has energy, wants to do and listens, and I really like this,” Maldini said. He has already expressed his approval but also his excitement, and the hope now that there will be more room for investments to build the squad, which always has Maldini’s stamp.
“When you try to take on a player, the difficulties are varied because you have to sell a different project from the Berlusconi era. It’s a downsizing, but you have to tell a credible and in any case a winning project,” Maldini said at the Sports Festival.
Here the former captain hints at the difficulty of having to move within the confines of limited budgets both in the incoming market and in renewal offers, all in the name of consolidation of the accounts. However, he added: “The club has been healed and now it should go back towards bigger goals.”
Paolo also revealed some background on the summer transfer window and admitted that Charles De Ketelaere was in fact not the first choice target, but the main message was about how fluid the situations are while the mercato is open.
“The market is dynamic, before taking De Ketelaere we tried to take Botman, who would have exhausted the budget and would have taken us to other players for the attack. At this point of the journey we must not sign average players, but with great potential. And in January, when a small budget came up, I told the owners ‘I don’t want it, we’re already strong like this’,” he said.
Maldini said while laughing: “We are a de facto couple.” He and Ricky Massara are always seen together at Milanello, at the stadium and even on vacation this summer with their respective spouses. They come from different backgrounds but they have converging ideas on how the club should be run.
Maldini spared some words of praise for Stefano Pioli, who has been a huge part of the resurgence since he arrived in 2018: “He has a crazy, everyday energy that I didn’t know about. He shares our projects, and makes no excuses.”
When it looked like Ralf Rangnick was set to become the new head coach, Maldini made a wall and explained why going on with Pioli would have been the best solution. Since then he has delivered a modern style of football and – most importantly – a Scudetto trophy.
“Rafa is grateful to us and I’m interested in what he tells us. That is, his path in the coming years must be at Milan. There is a good chance of finding an agreement with the player,” Maldini said when asked about the future of the Portuguese.
These are encouraging words for the fans to hear and it is very tough to imagine that the technical director would embellish the truth in any way, so now we must see how the renewal situation develops given the demands of his entourage and the fine due to Sporting CP.
Despite having made so many memories and having won so much at San Siro, Maldini has always made it clear that he supports the idea of building a new stadium with Inter, to create future success with the revenues it would bring given this is an area Serie A lags behind the Premier League so much.
“The coexistence with Inter went well, we shared trophies, stadium and forecourt, and therefore it would not be a problem to share it again,” he said.
Maldini feels like the ambassador of an entire city, and the people of Inter in him do not see a bitter enemy, but a former adversary of value.
Finally, some words on the future of the club and what fans can expect in the years to follow: “I am very realistic, but also very dreamer. And dreaming of reaching the maximum result transmits confidence.”
Maldini referred to a message he sent to Gordon Singer at Christmas: “We will win the Scudetto.” Part of being a Milanista is to dream big, and part of being a director is having the belief in yourself and those around you to make it a reality.
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