Maldini: “I never considered the idea of leaving Milan, San Siro is a sacred place and Baresi was my strongest teammate, I said ‘yes’ to Barbra Berlusconi about returning but ‘no’ to the current ownership, I’m worried about Milan”

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Paolo Maldini before Milan-Juventus at Stadio San Siro on October 27, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Paolo Maldini before Milan-Juventus at Stadio San Siro on October 27, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Paolo Maldini has given an extensive interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport as tomorrow he marks his 50th birthday.

Tomorrow, an icon and a legend of football and of Milan in particular, turns 50: Paolo Maldini, perhaps the greatest to ever wear the Red and Black shirt.

Today, the eternal #3 answered 50 questions to La Gazzetta dello Sport and spoke about practically everything:

“1. Who is Paolo Maldini today? A former athlete, a husband, a father, a happy man.

“2. Choosing five memories, one from each decade? A sporting moment and non-sporting moment for each decade: 1-10 – the start of school (it gave me a lot even though I did not graduate) and the first contacts with the balls; 11-20: the meeting with [Paolo’s wife] Adriana and the debut in Serie A; 21-30: the birth of Christian and the 1990 World Cup, along with the first Champions League; 31-40: the birth of Daniel and the Manchester final; 41-50: the loss of my parents and the day that I quit.

“3. The most beautiful year? 1996 and 2001 for the birth of my children, and the 2002/03 season: the best in terms of strength, head and technique.

Paolo Maldini lifting the trophy after winning the Milan-Juventus UEFA Champions League Final on May 28, 2003 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini lifting the trophy after winning the Milan-Juventus UEFA Champions League Final on May 28, 2003 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

“4. What would your father Cesare and mother Marisa tell me today? It wasn’t the things that they told me, but what I felt when they smiled at me, it’s a great satisfaction to make your parents proud.

“5. At 50 my father won the World Cup as the assistant of Enzo Bearzot [in 1982], and I was in Milan’s Youth Academy; if I ever wondered, then or later, what would my life be like at age 50? No, I never imagined myself at a different age and I didn’t even realize what it meant for my father to be 50. I followed his job, but only as an adult I really appreciated what he had done in football.

“6. If time passes faster now or when I played? Now it flies. Before not so much, despite the commitments and matches.

Paolo Maldini and Francesco Totti hugging before Milan-Roma at Stadio San Siro on May 24, 2009. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Francesco Totti hugging before Milan-Roma at Stadio San Siro on May 24, 2009. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

“7. What is my relationship with Christian and Daniel? I like playing and joking with them, I want them to be serious. My wife and I ‘slap’ them when needed, they’re good guys and I’m content with them.

“8. What role did the family have in my human and professional growth? It was my North Star. Both my origin family and the one I created – I found the values of my parents in Adriana.

“9. In the last 50 years there have been 5 Popes, many characters of Italian politics and cultures, 9 American Presidents; which character has left a stronger impact? I’m not particularly religious, but it was very emotional to meet Pope Wojtyla and Pope Francis: they gave me unique sensations.

Michel Platini awarding Paolo Maldini with a special award for his career during the 2009/2010 European Champions League groups stage draw on August 27, 2009, in Monaco. (STEPHANE DANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
Michel Platini awarding Paolo Maldini with a special award for his career during the 2009/2010 European Champions League groups stage draw on August 27, 2009, in Monaco. (STEPHANE DANNA/AFP/Getty Images)

“10. How many times in the first months of Berlusconi and Sacchi, I thought ‘they are crazy’? I thought of Berlusconi: ‘I hope he is right’. And Sacchi, well, I often thought he was crazy and a little bit I think so too now, but without him there wouldn’t have been the epic Milan. A bit of madness is needed.

“11. If ‘the shirt is like a second skin’ a real thing? For me it’s like this: I’ve only had two jerseys – the Rossoneri one and the Azzurri one. I’ve never taken into consideration the idea of leaving Milan and the club never decided to sell me.

Paolo Maldini before Milan-Lazio at Stadio San Siro on December 3, 2008. (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini before Milan-Lazio at Stadio San Siro on December 3, 2008. (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

“12. Who was the best Maldini? On a physical level, that of 1991-92 and 1993-94, but I choose the Maldini of 2002-03. I was a perfectionist because of my dad. I always tried to have the perfect game, but it’s impossible. I got pretty close to it in 02-03. That season I played 19 Champions League matches, all of them, and I played well in many of them.

“13. What does it mean to be a ‘bandiera’ [a flag, a symbol]? It means having more responsibility and there comes a time when you’re ready to take them, even if you do not decide to become a ‘bandiera’. As a young boy, I tried to look as much as possible and talk as little as possible. At a certain point, however, I understood it was time to take responsibility. After that, the perception of others towards you also changes.

“14. Which was the best Milan? The first of Sacchi, the 1992-93 side of Capello and the 2002-03 side of Ancelotti. There was a lot of quality, also on the bench.

Paolo Maldini and Carlo Ancelotti during a press conference at the Olympic Stadium, on May 22, 2007. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Carlo Ancelotti during a press conference at the Olympic Stadium, on May 22, 2007. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

“15. The greatest joy? The debut in Serie A. On the bus to the stadium, I was wondering ‘how I can stay here?’ I never thought I’d make it, but then it happened. The pitch was bad, the first ball I touched was a back-pass to [the goalkeeper] Terraneo. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if that ball had gone back badly.

“16. If from the inside you felt Sacchi’s revolution? Yes. Before, the preparations were even harder, but hinged on ideas from the 60s, you thought that during training you couldn’t drink: they said that the water was hurting you. We certainly were going faster than you go now. We were always verticalizing and having little possession. Now we are exaggerating with possession, so you get less tired. A mix between management [possession football] and verticalization would be perfect. With Sacchi we won just one Scudetto because we did not manage ourselves during matches.

“17. Who taught me the most? My luck was to have a lot of good managers: Capello in the Primavera, Liedholm, then Sacchi, who turned everything upside down. I also enjoyed Zaccheroni and the three-man defense: I was against it, but he was good at explaining what he wanted.

Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko celebrating during the Milan-Fiorentina at Stadio San Siro, on December 12, 2004. (Photo by New Press / Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko celebrating during the Milan-Fiorentina at Stadio San Siro, on December 12, 2004. (Photo by New Press / Getty Images)

“18. What is San Siro? A theater, a sacred place and my second home, near the first…

“19. The strongest teammate? Difficult… I choose Baresi for the agonism, the will and the technique.

“20. The partner with whom I had the most fun? On the field, Weah, outside the field Fernando De Napoli, Angelo Carbone, Rino and many others.

“21. If, as a fan, I’m worried about Milan? Yes. I don’t think UEFA have it in for Milan, but I think it would like a strong Milan. After its verdict, we’ll see what happens.

Franco Baresi, Daniele Massaro, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Donadoni and Demetrio Albertini after Roberto Baggio missed his penalty shot during the penalty shoot-out, giving Brazil a 3-2 victory in the 1994 World Cup final. (EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Franco Baresi, Daniele Massaro, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Donadoni and Demetrio Albertini after Roberto Baggio missed his penalty shot during the penalty shoot-out, giving Brazil a 3-2 victory in the 1994 World Cup final. (EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

“22. What was my relationship with triumphs and disasters? I accepted them as part of the game. The disaster hurts, but I managed it almost better than the triumph that makes you feel good because you can share it with your teammates. But in disaster you feel lonely in a team sport.

“23. Which game would I replay between Italy-Argentina in 1990, Italy-Brazil in 1994 and Milan-Liverpool in 2005? Italy-Argentina. The most fitting final would’ve been between us and Germany and then… we would’ve won in Rome. Brazil played better in 1994. As for Liverpool, I re-played the final two years later.

“24. Manchester 03, the Juve-Milan Champions League final, I entered the field with Del Piero and Buffon, joking and smiling; if lightness was my strength? Of course, but Sacchi and Capello did not like this lightness, which is why the most beautiful years were those with Ancelotti. I think that if you are ready, you can also joke and smile: the concentration remains.

Paolo Maldini smiling at supporters upon Milan's arrival at the Narita airport, 06 December 2007. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini smiling at supporters upon Milan’s arrival at the Narita airport, 06 December 2007. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

“25. If I was more critical of the criticism after the 2002 World Cup or after the treatment of the fans on my last day at San Siro? After the World Cup, there we went beyond the field, there was a lot of ignorance.

“26. Who was my main rival? Myself: every day in training I raised the bar and that challenge stimulated me.

“27. If I would’ve like to have at home the World Cup or the Ballon d’Or? The World Cup, which depends on what you do on the field. The Ballon d’or depends on personal judgments.

Paolo Maldini during Milan-Juventus at Stadio San Siro on May 10, 2009. (Emilio Andreoli/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini during Milan-Juventus at Stadio San Siro on May 10, 2009. (Emilio Andreoli/AFP/Getty Images)

“28. I still have the attendance record in Serie A? I’m pleased, I still have the record for most minutes at the World Cup. An American friend of mine, who doesn’t know much about football, bought the Guinness book and his son found me there. Beautiful, I also scored the fastest goal in the history of the Champions League final.

“29. If there’s a need to separate Paolo from Maldini? I’m shy, so I protected myself like that. And then, I always thought that when I finish playing, I have the right to enjoy my life and family.

“30. If the relationship between a kid and sport today the same as it was when I was a child? Not really. Then, there was sport and little else. There were no phones and no social networks. The risk now is that the children enter the virtual world and do not come out of it.

Paolo Maldini and wife Adriana Fossa attending the Sweet Years Homewear Launch held at Park Hyatt Hotel on May 5, 2008 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and wife Adriana Fossa attending the Sweet Years Homewear Launch held at Park Hyatt Hotel on May 5, 2008 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

“31. If football was a game that became work or a job done with the smile of those of play the game? My head was always ‘work’. I was so competitive that when I got home, I got off the tram two stops early and then I raced the tram… a champion never wants to lose.

“32. This is the first generation that didn’t see me on the field, so how would I describe myself to a 10-year-old child? They know everything, and they know because I’m still in the PlayStation. And when they meet me on the street they ask me if I was so fast on the pitch… Anyways, I would describe myself as a good defender in love with the ball. I always liked to shoot, touching that round thing I always loved since childhood.

Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on November 23, 2002. (Photo by Grazia Neri/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri during Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on November 23, 2002. (Photo by Grazia Neri/Getty Images)

“33. What do I miss the most about football? The arrival at the stadium, the pre-match tension, when you are in the middle of the pitch. Beautiful moments.

“34. What I never endured about football? I never liked to feel obliged to do something to satisfy the fans. And then why should I feel like a human waste after a defeat?

“35. If there is a sufficient sporting culture in Italy? No, absolutely. We do not accept defeat, I always remember the enthusiasm of Liverpool fans at 3-0 in Istanbul.

“36. If we paid the bill by missing out of the World Cup? Exactly: the football God presented the bill for four years of mistakes and made us skip a lap. The FIGC didn’t put football at the center of the project.

“37. What is the biggest problem of Italian football? The management. We don’t have a President yet. The management of the elimination against Sweden was ridiculous.

Paolo Maldini and Diego Armando Maradona during the Italian Football Federation Hall of Fame ceremony at Palazzo Vecchio on January 17, 2017 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Diego Armando Maradona during the Italian Football Federation Hall of Fame ceremony at Palazzo Vecchio on January 17, 2017 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

“38. My top 11 opponents? Too difficult, but I’ll give the podium: Maradona, Ronaldo and then Zidane, Platini and Romario are equal.

“39. If tennis represents the need for other challenges or the simple desire to not stand still? A little bit of everything. Tennis pushes my knees in an acceptable way, I can handle myself. And then on the mental level it teaches you so much.

“40. If every time my knees creak, I think that sport can also hurt? I think it’s the bill that I have to play. I envy my former teammates who still play football: I cannot, my knees do not allow me to run 10 minutes in a row.

Paolo Maldini during the men's doubles tennis match, with his partner Stefano Landonio against Poland's player Tomasz Bednarek and Nederland's player David Pel during the ATP Challenger Tour on June 27, 2017 at the Aspria Tennis Club in Milan. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini during the men’s doubles tennis match, with his partner Stefano Landonio against Poland’s player Tomasz Bednarek and Nederland’s player David Pel during the ATP Challenger Tour on June 27, 2017 at the Aspria Tennis Club in Milan. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

“41. Three champions of other sports that I admire? Edwin Moses, Bjorn Borg and Michael Jordan.

“42. Who are my friends? Among the ex-players: Ibrahim Ba, Carbone, Sheva, Tassotti, Baresi, Massaro, Ferrara and then there are the non-football friends that I have been seeing since I stopped playing.

“43. I said ‘no’ to many offers? It’s not like that… I’m lucky that I don’t need to work and therefore I can choose. To Barbara Berlusconi, however, I said ‘yes’, it wasn’t skipped because of my will. I said ‘no’ to the current ownership. With the national team, I could’ve been the team manager at the 2014 World Cup, but they didn’t stay in touch. I said ‘no’ to Chelsea because I’d just retired, and my role wasn’t clear.

“44. Working for the FIGC? It’s all a big question mark.

Cesare Maldini, Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri before France-Italy at Stade de France on July 3, 1998. (Photo by Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Cesare Maldini, Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri before France-Italy at Stade de France on July 3, 1998. (Photo by Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“45. An adjective for 10 people who have accompanied my career: Nils Liedholm, Silvio Berlusconi, Adriano Galliani, Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti, Azeglio Vicini, Franco Baresi, Billy Costacurta? Liedholm – reassuring, Berlusconi – visionary, Galliani – Milanista, Sacchi – obsessive and visionary, Capello – practical, Ancelotti – serene, Vicini – gentleman, Baresi – brave, Costacurta – underappreciated. And for my father – honest.

“46. My biggest mistakes? I have committed so many and only by doing something wrong you grow. But every time I took my responsibilities.

“47. What is talent? A gift from God, from your parents. But for an athlete, it isn’t enough, but rather regrets increase if you don’t develop it… I was not the talent of Milan’s youth teams. There are so many talented guy who don’t make it.

“48. What have I always been respected by everyone? Simple: if you give respect, you get respect. The road is long, because you always feel that when playing football, people don’t understand who you are. But it isn’t like it, people understand and so you have to be yourself.

Paolo Maldini and Milan celebrate with the trophy following their 2-1 victory during the Liverpool-Milan UEFA Champions League Final at the Olympic Stadium on May 23, 2007 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Milan celebrate with the trophy following their 2-1 victory during the Liverpool-Milan UEFA Champions League Final at the Olympic Stadium on May 23, 2007 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

“49. If I like Milano? Very much, it is with the world, it is alive, it experiments, it offers opportunities, it’s international. A bit of what I’ve been looking for in life: since 1989, I have been going abroad to open my horizons. Milano is shy, it’s frank: I recognize myself in it.

“50. If there’s something that I never said and would like to tell? I just want to say that life is beautiful, I’m a lucky man and a dreamer. Dreaming helps and I still have something to achieve that I cannot reveal. I regret that I haven’t taken advantage of my name as a player to form a charity foundation.”

40 COMMENTS

  1. The man must be at the forefront of any new ownership to be the link between past and present and our new chief executive, and don’t anyone try and say “he’s not qualified”. If someone asked Paulo Maldini to become an astronaut and land a rocket on the moon I’d bet my mortgage on him learning how, he’s one in a billion and would be a massive addition to us

     
  2. Kaka admitted he would very much like to return to Milan and take over a role in clubs hierarchy

    I do hope that new investor whoever will be, aknowledges this and is aware what kind of institution Milan is by bringing back our beloved legends.Of course that includes Maldini in first place

     
  3. Of Topic:
    I never said anything abt Mr.Mirabelli yet…..but his last comment abt Max Meyer astonished me…..he said, we have covered that position so he is not in our radar anymore…… what the fuck!!!!….. covered with whom?????….. A old Shit like Biglia??? who failed to secure his place even in his haphazard national team……. I can’t believe this……Oh Milan

     
    • Exactly, I just saw that and what the f man.
      We are covered?
      Meyer practically is asking to join Milan, and he has such quality and Mirabelli is shutting the door on him.
      I can’t believe that guy is a sporting director.

       
      • He is saying that since his days are coming to an end. If you read news about Comisso,he will change whole board and directors. Thus why he is acting like that, he just doesnt care anymore. Now its best Li accepts offer from Comisso and we can start with Kaka and Maldini as part of Milan board.Same goes that days of Gattuso are coming to end as well, as new coach will come(probably Conte).

         
        • Well for the Gattuso part, that could he tricky. The team has found some solid ground after Montella and changing Gattuso would be great mistake. He brought results no one expected from him and he is our legend

          I say give him another season under new management weather is Commisso or Ricketts

           
          • I did not like the gattuso being sacked part very much but I am all for Maldini finally getting a major role at milan.

            I really think gattuso has potential as a coach and did a great job creating a team after what happened under montella. While I think conte has the ability to build a team from shambles, I am really indifferent. Because I also don’t want Rino to be sacked in January and we start another manager carousel halfway through a season.

            Whoever our manger would be deserves some god damn peace for once and an entire preseason and season to do his work.

             
    • Seems Milan really don’t have money to buy players. I won’t mention about Golovin (€30 mio) or Fekir (£60 mio) anymore here. I try to be more realistic by hoping that Gattuso saw how energetic and skillful Hirving Lozano of Mexico is in WC 2018. He is currently the best player of PSV. He is 22 y.o now and could play as an AM both left and right hand side. Hope his price tag is around €13-15 mio. Swap Kalinic with Lozano, please mister Rhinoceros Gattuso.

       
  4. Commisso on verge of buying 80% of milan. I dont know whether to be happy or not. Good thing is that commisso is the richest we’ve been linked with and hes been a supporter and followed the Italian league for many years. But does he know how to bring success to us. Reports also that fassone mirabelli and gattuso will leave with maldini and conte to be brought in. I guess we’ll see how this turna out and hear what the plans really are

     
  5. Looks like Milan will soon be American. Everything is pretty much done. Lets hope this guy doesnt let his Juventino goggles screw us up anymore. He needs to bring in Kaka and Maldini immediately and insert them in key positions. They are hugely respected in the football world. Kaka can take Leonardo’s old job and Maldini can be the Sporting Director or something like that. Lets do this.

     
    • We all have been in football long enough, and Milan fans long enough, to know that it’s never so simple. Dangerous tides ahead, very dangerous, and right now I’ll be happy with us having any reasonable owner.

       
  6. A lot of people have criticised Milan and praised Romas management. They let Nainggolan go for a MEASLY 21 million euros + 2 players. Seriously that is THE coup. I wonder how people here would react if we sold one of our prized assets that cheap.

     
  7. Paolo Maldini d main reason y am supporting Acmilan nd watching Football greatest defender in d history of football as am a Nigerian I give u d highest honour in my country GCFR I know nd believe one day I will see u football legend till I see u den I will tell u wat u can’t remember about urself happy Golden jubilee u will celebrate many years to come in gud nd sound health GREATEST Maldini u will live long

     
  8. “I’ve never taken into consideration the idea of leaving Milan and the club never decided to sell me.” — Maldini
    “I’m very interested in going back to Milan. And I do not know when, but it will happen.” — Kaka.
    Pure class.

     
  9. Wellb this is making me hate Mirabelli. We are covered?? Was he not watching when our midfield couldn’t contain an out of form Arsenal? No dominant passing even against teams like Genoa? Sign creative mids please.

     
  10. Mr. Li suddenly found 32 millions necessary to repay Elliott until 6th of July

    And then what? He still needs to repay 380 millions of debt to them, which he doesn’t have and Commisso agreed a deal to repay that to Elliott when he takes over

    Like I said Berlusconi sold Milan like a cheap hooker and now these Chinese tossing it around like nothing

     
    • If reports were true, Commisso presented a great offer, it’s disgusting that Li didn’t accept.

      Not that I know a great deal about any of the potential buyers, but based on what has been released in the media, it seems like Commisso is the only one with footballing knowledge.

      I don’t want some prick who knows nothing about us or the sport taking over to try and make a profit. But it seems like the Commisso deal is practically dead

       
    • Have you checked how much other top European clubs have in debt? You will be shocked. Li is a business man with Milan as his interest so he cannot just accept any offer.

       
      • Have you checked how much revenue other top European clubs make in comparison to Milan?

        As someone above already commented, how come all of a sudden there are big names interested in purcashing Milan but when Silvio put the club on the market all he got was two shady unknown brokers – Mr. Bee and Mr. Li

        These figures cannot run a football club and should sell ASAP

         
  11. A true legend on the field, the best LB in history – what can he do to save our beloved Milan only god knows.

     
  12. Everyone here freaking out about the Comissio deal being out. Its not out. Mr. li is simply weighing his options. The Rickett family only started due diligence recently. Its quite apparent people here dont understand business. Mr. Li is just trying to up his ROI and improve his position. Relax guys.

     

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