Abbiati: “There was a lot of confusion with the Chinese ownership and it is better that it’s over, Maldini and Leonardo are the right men to rebuild”

Christian Abbiati before Shkëndija-Milan Milan at the Philip II Arena on the 24th of August, 2017. (
Christian Abbiati before Shkëndija-Milan Milan at the Philip II Arena on the 24th of August, 2017. (

Christian Abbiati talked about the role that he left, the management he was a part of and about the future of Milan now that Maldini and Leonardo are in.

Abbiati left his role as Club Manager last month after just one season, and since then a lot of changed at Milan: the Chinese lost ownership of the club and now Elliott are in charge, appointing Paolo Scaroni as President and Leonardo & Paolo Maldini as the people responsible for the club’s technical and sport’s side.

Abbiati quit his job willingly and the ex-goalkeeper, who has now returned to focus on his Harley Davidson dealership in Milano, gave an interview to today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport to explain what was going on last season. And Christian spared no criticism.

“What was my role? You have to be of help for everything and everyone: the coach, the director of sport, the team manager, the players, Milanello,” the 41-year-old Italian told pink newspaper. “But it’s a strange role, always on the edge of the balance. I’ll give an example: if a player does something foolish and you go talk to the coach, then you risk passing off as a spy. In short, it’s a very ‘political’ role and I understand that it’s not for me. Most of the time I would come back home really pissed off. Not having continued is something that depended on me: Mirabelli had offered the renewal but I refused. And also, I couldn’t see myself in a jacket and a shirt…

Christian Abbiati at Casa Milan on June 14th, 2017. (
Christian Abbiati at Casa Milan on June 14th, 2017. (

“How did it go with the Chinese ownership? My mistake was to make comparisons with the old Milan, in which I had certain reference points. There, on the other hand, there was a lot of confusion in the side of the management. A smoky organization that tried to pass as perfect. The way it ended does not surprise me and with how things were going, it’s better that it’s over.

“My point of reference was Gattuso [who replaced Vincenzo Montella in November]. What was my job with Gattuso? The goal was to reset Milanello to what it once was, with precise rules of behavior. However, Rino was a phenomenon. He surprised me a lot as a coach, he was able to get into the players’ heads, stimulating and motivating them. With these generations it’s not easy. I advise Elliott to hold onto him tight. Montella? He was a half-disaster. He did badly because he didn’t trust anyone.

Christian Abbiati and Massimiliano Mirabelli watching a game. (
Christian Abbiati and Massimiliano Mirabelli watching a game. (

“A judgment on Mirabelli? A positive surprise, he’s one who busts his tail. I experienced the renewal of Donnarumma closely and I must say that he managed the matter very well to protect the club. He was one of the few to have the courage to go against Raiola. And then he won the bet on Gattuso.

“Donnarumma now needs to co-exist with Reina? It’s feasible, there are a lot of games. They can co-exist and the competition can do well for Gigio. For him the best thing is to stay still at Milan, also because the [goalkeeping] coach has changed and I want to see him with another system of work. Alfredo Magni [the keeper coach who left Milan this summer] has the credit for having brought Donnarumma to where he arrived, but Gigio has not improved, he stopped.

Christian Abbiati talking to Davide Calabria, Andrea Conti, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Manuel Locatelli before Craiova-Milan at Stadionul Municipal (Drobeta-Turnu Severin) on the 27th of July, 2017. (
Christian Abbiati talking to Davide Calabria, Andrea Conti, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Manuel Locatelli before Craiova-Milan at Stadionul Municipal (Drobeta-Turnu Severin) on the 27th of July, 2017. (

“How did we feel when Leonardo went to Inter? It was an unexpected thing. But I say to you that I only have two signed shirts in my closet: Maldini’s and Leonardo’s. This makes you understand what I think of him, I believe. I now have the shirts of the new management? Maldini and Leonardo and two friends and two great professionals, who can do their job. They are the right men to rebuild because they know Milan very well. As a Milanista, I absolutely wanted to see Maldini inside the club and when Leo arrived, I said to myself: ‘Now Paolo also arrives’.

“Higuain and Caldara have also arrived? Higuain was the missing striker. I’m surprised that Juventus did this operation, the earning is of Milan. It all started with Bonucci? They probably promised him things that weren’t kept. But Leo [Bonucci] has the credit for making Romagnoli grow.

“As always, work pays off.” Abbiati also indicated that “if they [the new Milan] call me, then I will listen to them willingly”, showing that he still wants to contribute to the rebuild of the Rossoneri.

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Milan no 1



Best…interview… ever! He just opened eyes telling us about previous management and why things didn’t worked out. And a peace about Montella “ half disaster” haha finally someone with the balls to say it.
Thank you Abbiati, you are always to be welcomed back.


So many surprising details that were never revealed. Thanks Christian!
I am curious how exactly Montella did not trust anyone, and also am quite worried that Donna has currently stopped improving.

Rikimaru Tenchu

Easy to know what the distrust meant…

Have you met people who always think they are being sabotaged? Montella always makes these comments in his interview even after his Sevilla stint.

Better he is gone now.


This is a fantastic interview, honest and upfront as expected from Abbia! I really want to know more about what he meant with that he didn’t trust anyone. Didnt he believe in his players, and thats why there were so much rotation? Or trust in the management? So many questions! Spot on regarding Mirabelli I think, he failed with some things yes but he worked so hard for us, and remember that the signings coexisted with Montella too so he isnt entirely to blame. Nice to hear what he says about Rino, very reassuring and hopefully Reina can be to… Read more »


I have two signed shirts as well framed and hanging with pride of place in my sitting room
Paulo Maldini’s and Franco Baresi’s
My next one will be Nesta’s

Martin Bernhard

It seems like milan is about to sell locatelli to Sassuolo or maybe just a loan WHO knows. But according to some reports it seems like we will offload him for 15 mil euros. If thats actually the case we should at minimum atleast insert a buyback clause set fairly low (between 20 and max 25 mil) and a first refusal as well so other Clubs simply doesnt buy him infront our noses. Look at what happened in regard of berradi when Juventus came calling if this was to repeat itself in locatellis case i would find it unberable as… Read more »


These buyback clauses are essentially co-ownerships with the player’s value being predetermined.


I saw Mirabelli at Burger King yesterday


Hey Gman are you sure it wasn’t your local MacDonalds? He could have been there trying to sign Ronald??