Maldini on a possible return: “There are two obvious obstacles, there’s lack of clarity on the role I’m offered and I want to hear directly from the buyers, a decision in the coming days”

Adriano Galliani and Paolo Maldini (
Adriano Galliani and Paolo Maldini (

Paolo Maldini has explained why – at the moment – he is unable to accept Marco Fassone’s offer to return as a technical director (‘what does this role mean?’) and insisted on meeting the next Chinese owners before finally deciding (‘I would just like to know from them what they intend to do for the good of Milan’).

Yesterday we learned that Paolo Maldini met Marco Fassone and the future CEO offered the legendary captain a role in the new management that he’s been entrusted by the Chinese owners to construct.

Maldini was offered the role of the Technical Director and after the first rush of optimism, a lot of reports suggested that Paolo is set to decline the offer as he wishes to have more power and autonomy if he is to come back to the club after 7 years. There were even rumours suggesting the two are in disagreement over money and that he has already said ‘no’ to Fassone, but Maldini has made everything perfectly clear in his interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport’s G.B. Olivero.

“I’ve chosen La Gazzetta to clarify things, this is not a message of anger or resentment, but of clarity,” Maldini said, as written on this morning’s edition of the pink newspaper that is based in Milano.

Paolo Maldini (

“The meetings with the new management? First of all, I’d like to stress that I respect Fassone who has a delicate task in hand. We met four times in one month [September], he told me that I’m the first and only choice and explained why: my life and story are the basis for their decision.

“Everything I’ve done for Milan has an important weight. However, just of respect for my story, if I accept to enter in Milan I will do it only by following my ideals. I deeply love this club and I can help just by listening to my heart and my head. For the good of Milan, I have to be myself.

“Problems that emerged over the course of the four meetings? I can’t assume certain responsibilities and put myself out there without identifying the buyers. I would like to know how the new owners, share the project, talk about strategies, listen to their objectives and guidelines.

“It seems to me like the minimum. Who else I met besides Fassone? David [Han Li, who gave an interview to Gazzetta yesterday], the fund’s Vice President, the only one who speaks English. But it was a 10-minute chat, he told me that he strongly wants me at Milan but we did not go further.

Paolo Maldini at the 2014 Christmas party (
Maldini at the 2014 Christmas party (

“If I presented my conditions? I don’t know if I’ll call them conditions but they were looking for me and so it’s right that I’ve asked for things. There are two obvious obstacles: the lack of direct responsibility in the technical area and the lack of clarity on the role.

“I’d be a technical director? Yes, but what does it mean? They’ve proposed a structure with Fassone as CEO, Mirabelli the director of sport and me the technical director. But the point is: what will I do? If me and Mirabelli manage the sporting part, what if we have a difference in views, then who decides? I can’t have a role in half with another person. It seems inevitable to face this problem now.

“I won’t judge those I don’t know, but I demand a shared sporting project that currently does not exist. So I asked to know the buyers and be told directly from them what they expect from me, to see that they share their project with me. If we didn’t discuss the issue of the role in the four meetings? I just know that with me there would also be Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli.

“But, at present, the roles are likely to overlap on many things. Too many things. I was told that the goal is to bring Milan among the top five teams in the world. But that means working 24 hours a day for a long time. I’m willing to do it but I must know well how things stand.

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

“A dead line? No, in the coming days it will be defined one way or another. I’m in no hurry and I really don’t see the case of being given the vastness of the project. I would just like to know from them [the buyers] what they intend to do for the good of Milan. Then I’ll put my myself, the credibility, the attachment to the colors, the time, the sharing of a project, the work.

“It is said that I want to step over Fassone [it was suggested that Maldini wants himself in a role similar to what Galliani has at Milan or Leonardo had at PSG]? It’s not true. Fassone is absolutely credible, I understand that he has ‘carte blanche’ [permission to do something in any way you choose to do it]. He was very kind with me and said really nice things. But it’s normal that I want to meet the new owners, to hear if the buyers are identified with the Rossoneri colors and with me is crucial.

“People said there are economic differences? It’s not true. We never talked about money. How can we quantify it before they tell me first what will be my role? In the four meetings we never passed the first hurdle. They haven’t implemented my request? It seems strange but it’s true. I repeat: I need to be shared with the project and hear from them what they want from me.

Maldini, Pirlo and Buffon during the inter religious "match for peace" game at Stadio Olimpico on September 1, 2014. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Maldini, Pirlo and Buffon during the inter religious “match for peace” game at Stadio Olimpico on September 1, 2014. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

“The work would be complicated by fascinating. I would leave the quiet life of these last years to get back in the game so I have to know everything – from the buyers. What will happen? You must ask them. So far there have been so many rumours and little clarify. I won’t say it to your face but it’s possible. But only with defined roles and with the sharing of the project. As was the case of the great Milan of Berlusconi. I don’t need to answer to them, but they need to answer me.

“I realize that I can seem like a complicated man, but this character and my approach to life have led me to be who I am. And then I am obliged to be so: This is Milan. It is no joke,” concluded Maldini.

Maldini lifts the Champions League trophy after Milan 2-1 Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium on May 23, 2007 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Maldini lifts the Champions League trophy after Milan 2-1 Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium on May 23, 2007 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Paolo also released a statement to Sky Italia last night, saying similar things: “My name is mentioned a bit too often, sometimes with false or unverifiable stories. It’s true I met Fassone and Mirabelli at my home, I was told the objective was to take Milan back to being one of the top clubs in the world within five years. My history as a man and a Milan player forces me to understand deep down the ideas of the new owners, their projects and how they are thinking of acting.

“I need to hear it directly from them. If I am to put my face, heart and passion into this, working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, then I want to do it for a truly serious project. I am ready to transform my life. It is not me who sought out Milan, but them who came to me, so I consider it only right that I get the chance to speak to the new owners before making a final decision.

“This is an issue of principle and of justice. I read some reports I made elevated financial requests: I have made no requests at all in that sense. I read that I set certain conditions: I merely pointed out that if I was to be made technical director, it would be right that I make my own decisions and that includes making my own autonomous mistakes. That does not mean by-passing Fassone’s role.

Paolo Maldini, Zanetti (

“It has been said I lack experience. I feel the need to note that I have experience on a technical level, having spent a lifetime with the Milan jersey, which I continue to consider not a second skin, but my one and only skin. I want it to be clear, so we can avoid any type of misunderstanding: any decision I make will be solely for the good of Milan. If at the end of the day I should be a part of the new club, it’ll mean that contact with the owners – obviously shared with Fassone – are continual and constructive. Hearing from them every now and then would not be useful.

“If we are to get back to the top, we must do it all together within a shared project. It has also been said that my negative response has already arrived: quite simply, right now, I do not agree with the role that has been offered me. I request respect, the respect that I feel I deserve.”

It remains to be seen if Maldini, with his characteristic honesty and to-the-point attitude, will get to meet with the owners whose names will only be publicly revealed after the ‘closing’ in November.


  1. Yea., Inter have Zanetti as their VP,what about Juve and Nedved? Am sure the moment Totti and Buffon retires,they would be given a more deservedly role. But in Milan,we former Blues and Blacks as our CEO and sporting director! Maybe the Chinese aren’t that serious as they say.. Maldini is bigger than the Technical Director role.

  2. Totally Respect your views Paolo… Hope that new owners will clarify things on in depth project details and on new owners to have you part of the making of new history of Milan. Forza Paolo.. Forza Milan

  3. He is right, strategic plans have to be in line with everyone. If this is not the case, milan will have serious problems.

  4. You are wise,and i support your idea to hear form them (chinese) direct and to ensure us (fans) that the buy is to be real.

  5. I have even more respect for him than I had before (if it’s even possible). I really like and understand his approach. Being sure where are you getting in, especially knowing his feelings for this club. Whatever you deside, mister, I will respect that.

  6. Well said, Paolo deserved all he ask for. There has to be clarity before u take up a role. I don’t think this is to much to ask for. Beside it took him decades to build a legacy and he is ready to work with Milan once again provided the project is for the good of Milan.
    The new owners should be ready to meet is demand going forward. The owners needs to understand what Paolo Maldini stands for: He his a man every Milan fan look up to, there is no better candidate than him.
    Milan Till Eternity!!!

  7. Saluto, Il Capitano.

    I cannot add to your words. Complete and and full of wisdom about this new ‘project’.

    Allow me add this small thought, sir. If Rolex Watch were to sell their company, it would be one thing picking the cash. It would however require a high degree of character and resolve to guarantee that the new buyers would safeguard the world-class history and tradition that the timepiece commands. Milan is no different. For Sino-Europe to come up with money and Berlusconi agreeing to sale is one thing. That is just the business side of things.

    But you, sir are now asking the questions I have always mulled. Who is guaranteeing the prestige and reputation of Milan in the sporting sense of it? A new buyer without experience or expertise to run such a global brand? It seems presumptuous and speculative in the leastt. So, for you to ask these questions represents to us fans a foundation to guarantee a foundation to safeguard the sporting tradition: a well-laid plan and strategy; a well-set board and administrative structure; and, a super organised club.

    To me that would be good enough for one to risk it all, with the conviction, belief and blessing due it.

    Otherwise, it’s just nothing. Berlusconi could be hurrying to cash in. Sino-Europe could be biting off more than it can chew, and the rest of the club could be getting set for a major disaster, one that has never befallen Milan before.

    Now, the birth-pains begin. Let’s hope it is not a stillborn.

    Forza, my beloved Mllan.

    • I think this is the deciding moment to see if the buyers are truly serious with Milan. If they take Maldini on his request then it is on, we will be going places.

  8. One think i so much feel is that the reason galliani don’t give a clear view if he will work with chinese, may be he want to know if p maldini will join:so he can adjust because he is the reasons some of our legend anger and dos’t want return.

  9. Maldini is not given the kind of respect he deserved, honesyly i think a person who won 7 Series A titles and 5 European titles deserves more than a Technical Director. Wt all due respect Totti has not accumulated such at Roma and am sure he would be given a better post after his retirement.

  10. I differ with you guys. We are talking of big money here and as it stands Maldini doesnt have e required experience to take a much higher role. Another question I have is: Is this Fassone guy crazy enough to approach Maldini for a job offer 4 times without a clear job description? I doubt that, if so then he is the worst CEO but its very unlikely. I think Maldini is just being unreasonable here, being a technical director is the best start for anyone out there. Ryan Giggs spent more than 20 years and yet he was e role of coaching juniors. Its the same with Zidane who started as a junior coach and now is the manager of e senior team. Guardiola dd the same and look at him now. When it comes to the football adminstration role, I think being a technical director is not bad for start.

    Another thing we should also ask is: Why did Berlusconi failed to take him? Is it because he didnt want him at Milan? I dont think so. I think this guy feels like he is bigger than Milan itself and he wants more powers probably greater than Fassone’s. Am not on Maldini’s side on this one.

    As for me, I dont care whether Fassone and Mirabelli are Interista or not, as long they are going to take us where we belong. Matthius Sammer spend his playing career at Dortmund but he became the SD of Bayern and did a great job at Bayern.

    • I expected those thumpdowns. But you guys forget that even under Berlusconi he wasnt there and the Chinese try to do that and you guys are busy blaming them. Looks like anyone who goes against the club'[s adminstration is blamed. Under Berlusconi I dont think he cld have got any better position better than tt. He is a legend but he should know that each level in life requires you to start at a certain stage.

    • This truly is a talk with some common sense. I wonder why you got a lot of negativity? I think you’re clear and It’s nice to see some different opinion. It’s like a logical thinker, weigh the pros and cons, and then decide.

      On this occasion, though, I would like to propose a new idea. I can understand why you think that Maldini may think he is bigger than Milan. However, please bear in mind that he is looking for a higher role in the Milan’s pecking order because he is currently an owner of a football club in NASL. His team (Miami FC) currently sits at 3rd place in the NASL, so that could tell us something regarding his ability in managing a Football Club.

      I also understand Fassone’s point of view that he thinks Maldini needs a “buddy” in making decisions regarding sporting decisions. There may be more complex things in Italian Football compared to the US. Once Fassone thinks he can rely on Maldini, then he will be left alone with making decisions in the sporting area.

      All in all, I think both parties didn’t put enough trust to each other and I predict that we will not see Maldini in the New Milan’s management team. We may won’t even see Maldini’s involvement in the management of the team but I think it’s allright. It’s better for us, I guess, to have the dream of Paolo holding management position rather than having Paolo ruins his brand name if things go sour.

      • Why do you think Milan is in the position it is now? Because it is run without direction, and it is what Maldini has been questioning that is why he is on bad terms with Galliani. And what he wants is a position where he can make his own decisions not having to share decisions with someone because there is bound to be disagreement with what they are offering.

    • Somehow, i agree with you. As much as i respect Maldini, i think he’s executing too much bargaining power on this one. If he loves the club, fans and the red & black jersey so much, he should humbly accept the role of the Technical director and work up his way from there. Besides Fassone looks like a man on a journey…don’t think he will remain the CEO for too long. So maybe one day he too could be CEO.

    • All Maldini wants is if he makes a decision on something, that is whats going to happen. What is wrong with that? The man is smart and am sure has clear ideas and plans on how Milan should operate on the sporting side. The Maldini family is bigger than Berlusconi or anything else in Milan. If we as fans want to see the old Milan, where players were true gentlemen and hard working beasts, where the club was like a family, then we need Maldini the most.

      If we don’t really care about that then we don’t need him. We can just buy players and be like Man City . But I fell in love with Milan because of the players like Maldini, the champagne soccer, and family like unit of club as a whole. That’s what I want Milan to get back to.

      I think Maldini is right for sticking to his beliefs and not giving in. And shame on you for disagreeing with Il Capitano. >__<

      • I concur, mate. If he rushes like everybody is rushing, two things are certain: Failure and more confusion, the kind Balotelli was talking about. Maldini has stood out to challenge the new board on their promises, plan and strategy. If he does not, who will?

  11. Paulo Maldini is without doubt the greatest asset Ac Milan could ever dream about having
    He’s family is forever intertwined in the very fabric of the clubs sole and as such he deserves to know everything which is in the new owners thoughts
    From my understanding of what he said is that he will pour his heart and sole into leading us to the top just like he did as a player and men like him don’t come along too often, if the new owners mess him about and just try and use his image like a poster boy then he’s quite right to walk away
    Here is the biggest legend of Italian football who’s also at a great age to lead our club back to the top, if it were me I’d let him pick his own job and hand him a blank cheque to decide his own salary
    Huge respect to Maldini

      • “Picking his own job” was a tounge in cheek comment
        If you read the article its obvious he thinks only of Milan and its best interests
        I for one would of picked up the phone to him from day one and made it clear I wanted him and asked which position he would feel best suits him and let him have he’s say and then discuss it with him

        • Hmmm? You would, would you? It’s that sort of presumption he’s trying to avoid. Having to get a job simply because he’s a legend. Before he takes the offer. We as well as him want to know there’s order and organisation, not clamoring for recognition and small conquests which may well be the case in this situation as it were.

          My guess is he’s wondering ‘I would not mind holding a lesser position. What are the responsibilities that each one has. What is the order of hierarchy? How are appointments, promotions, dismissals processed and what are they based on? How do your working methods compare with the clubs’ traditions and prestige? How suited are all these to propelling the club forward again? Do you come to me because I have the best credentials or because of my history with the club? Why is it you guys buying, and not Mr. Bee, or the initial conglomerate brokered by Mr. Galatioto?

          In all these inquiries one’s compelled to sense he’s the best candidate. But then again one wonders, why not put all candidates on a litmus test and select the best suited, rather than hand-picking and shuffling back and forth with requests?

          So many questions, a few answers as yet

  12. Ok…. Got the point.
    Thats d legend talk. D legend that has shirt with legend number (that only his kid can use it)
    If buyer couldn’t give what legend want, it will make sense, that they not seriously want to bring Milan to the top….

  13. Maldini knows exactly what he’s talking about, as always. But judging by his words its clear that maldini himself is aching to join milan’s new project out of his utmost love for his beloved milan and he’s only playing hard to get. I think his experiences with berlusconi right from the start really set his standard so high, thats why he demands clarity from the new owners so he can determine whether he can trust them as he did berlusconi or not. I admire his character, true bandiera-like but he has to understand not every owner has same approach as berlu and that doesnt mean they are less credible. I think both parties have to compromise; new owners have to respect maldini and give him their clear view on the project and maldini too needs to soften up and understand u cant tell ur future bosses whats what, at least not without having constructive dialogues.
    One thing is for sure, milan will be much better off with maldini than without him

  14. The dude does not want to answer to mirabelli. He wants to have an autonomy on the signing of players. Now Fassone has to make a decision. He must either undermine Mirabelli who’s obviously his friend or choose to go forward without maldini. Both decisions have consequences but if I was him I’d undermine Mirabelli. If he goes forward without maldini and fails, he might very well lose his Job to maldini in 3 years. They need the fans back. Maldini brings that possibility. Obviously, he didn’t want maldini in a functional position initial because he’s threatened by maldini’s influence within the club. There’s a bit more to it but its all politics.

  15. There is no evidence that Maldini would be a good manager. He is only very good at managing his image, but that’s it. I would prefer Baresi or Rivera. If he loves Milan that much, salary should not be a barrier. I still remember him not retiring when he should have and his “I’m not one of you” statement to the fans. If he is that good, accept any job at Milan and rise to the top. Maybe he should go to Malta and help manage his son’s career. I’m don’t like Inter, but Zanetti is a model of good character.

  16. I am not Milanista but I do admire and respect the club for its achievements and the kudos it has given Calcio in past years. Paolo Maldini is, apart from being an icon and symbol of Milan, a man who puts the club above all else. His stance seems logical to me, he will commit his life to Milan but will only do this if everyone else is doing the same and the “project” recognises that Milan is a football club with huge historical importance to a global fanbase and not “just” a business venture for bored rich people. Over the past 7 years he has turned down opportunities to return because the conditions placed before him were not in his opinion the best for Milan and he would not want his name muddied because those above him have made decisions that were not in the best interest of the football club but based purely on business. I know the 2 are inextricably linked but how good was the bit of business that saw Ibrahimovich and Silva leave, together, without replacements, what were the fruits of that bit of business, as far as I can see it has lead to turbulent times and it is still not on an even keel now. I don’t think he is playing hard to get or being overly demanding, He just won’t put his name to anything unless he is fully aware of everything, exactly what he will be responsible for and will be or won’t be in his control and where the priorities lie for the owners. Maldini has always been a professional and serious individual, he is just being himself and I think it is admirable

  17. Just to highlight the very point Maldini was making here is part of statement issued by the board which I have just come across online:

    “SES is pleased to announce that, as of the date of closing, Massimiliano Mirabelli will join the management team of AC Milan, collaborating directly with the CEO and Director General Marco Fassone in dealing with the sporting area of the side”.

    How is that for clarity, as far as I was aware Mirabelli was being employed as Director of Sport but it doesn’t say that and sporting area of the side could mean anything really. If the job outlined to Maldini was this vague are you surprised he didn’t jump at the chance to join. As I have said I am not Milanista but I am interested in all things which reflect on Calcio as a whole. Milan is a big part of Calcio’s history and “should” be playing it’s part in our representation around the world as well as in Europe. The last few years have been hard for Milan with poor results in Serie A and worse still in Europe. I believe that Serie A needs a strong Milan, and Inter for that matter, and with resources like Maldini and Baresi available to advise I feel it is remiss of Milan not to listen to them.

  18. There are grey areas of this interview
    1. He mentioned “Respect”
    Maldini knows Maldini and he finds it ridiculous to be bossed by Fassone and Mirabelli.

    2. He mentioned ” “I’d be a technical director? Yes, but what does it mean? They’ve proposed a structure with Fassone as CEO, Mirabelli the director of sport and me the technical director. But the point is: what will I do? If me and Mirabelli manage the sporting part, what if we have a difference in views, then who decides? I can’t have a role in half with another person.”

    It’s rather obvious something isn’t quite clear to him about his role and without a doubt there would be clash of interest with Mirabelli. LET THEM SAY SPECIFICALLY WHAT HIS ROLES ARE.

    Conclusively, Maldini knows the in and out of Milan than everyone of us here and i believe he still doesn’t trust the system. More so, i feel the ego in his words but who can blame him? this dude knows he’s the biggest Milan brand and the brand must be super protected. I would do the same. The Chinese ought to have contacted Maldini directly instead of sending Fasonne, he feels he deserves more and he’s 100% right.

    If Maldini cannot eventually work with the new owners, the next candidate must find clarity too before jumping into it.

  19. WHAT THE F ARE THESE CHINESE UPTO? First they appoint a former fkin interista and juventino, add a galliani lookalike on top of that ,Marco fasusaonae . Someone should tell these idiot owners of ours that even though all the chinese look the same, the same doesnt applies to football. You cannot just appoint somebody lookalike and hope that he will carry the legacy for you. This is utter stupid from mr. Hen lie. Second as i had forcasted yeaaars ago as I had forecast years ago this stupid businessman are using fake documents to are buying our milan . Third they appointed another interista for dos . We might as well change our name to ac milan powered by stupid interistas. Fourth is the inability to brin my friend paolo into manaagement. If these reasons arent sufficient to tell yall how much doomed we are with manchurian balls with our owners idk what is? There can never be another ac milan without our father Mr. Silvio berlusconim #ForzaBerlusconi our milan is over.

  20. Fassone… not satisfied, but ok.
    Mirabelli… No way.

    We could have Maldini, Albertini, Baresi in top management positions… Later even Boban and Van Basten…

  21. Apparently now SES are considering not offering Maldini a position because they were unhappy with all the questions he asked. Please…was he just supposed to just accept the job without knowing any details. I actually think they wanted Maldini on board as a mouthpiece. Who better to deliver news to the fans good or bad but someone who is trusted and respected. If Maldini was delivering bad news but saying it was in Milans’ best interest the fans would be more likely to accept it rather than if it was to come as a statement from China. Paolo was right to stand his ground. Costacurta should also know better than to say he should have accepted now and asked questions later, the result would have been Maldini resigning once the new administration was in place. I think they under-estimate the standing Maldini has in Italian football, he is respected by all fans not just Milan fans and those like me who want to see strong competition in the league know that his input at Milan would help strengthen a team that historically has always been a symbol for Italian Football and a feared team in Serie A. If the chinese just want yes men, Milans turbulent days are not ending anytime soon!



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