Tassotti: “Milan has returned to being a normal club, Leo and Maldini have the intelligence to be a successful couple”

Andriy Shevchenko, Mauro Tassotti and Leonardo at Casa Milan on August 3, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Andriy Shevchenko, Mauro Tassotti and Leonardo at Casa Milan on August 3, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

Mauro Tassotti likes this new Milan with Maldini and Leonardo in charge, and says he’ll be cheering for the Rossoneri on Saturday, despite Carlo Ancelotti.

The new season finally begins for Milan on Saturday as they face Napoli away from home. It will be a special day as Rino Gattuso will face Carlo Ancelotti, with Paolo Maldini, Leonardo (and also Kaka) watching from the stands.

One man who will be missing, however, is Mauro Tassotti. The 58-year-old played at Milan from 1980 to 1997 and then spent many more years as the assistant coach of Ancelotti, Leonardo, Massimiliano Allegri, Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi.

And now Tassotti works as the assistant of Andriy Shevchenko in the Ukraine NT. The two visited Casa Milan earlier this month and today Mauro gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport about Milan.

“Milan has returned to being a normal club, in the sense that it has returned to having recognizable faces, to being a club with important economic capacities, which relies on important figures,” Tassotti told Thursday’s edition of the Milano-based pink newspaper. “That’s why I say that I like this kind of Rossoneri reunion. I’ll be honest: now I follow Milan with more affection than before.

Mauro Tassotti at Casa Milan. (@acmilan.com)
Mauro Tassotti at Casa Milan. (@acmilan.com)

“It’s the merit of Leonardo, Maldini and Gattuso? Leo and Paolo have the intelligence to be a successful couple, plus they have the aura of the Champions. I’m very happy for them. We talk about people who are respected everywhere, not just in the Milan world. Just think about what happened in Madrid [Sergio Ramos giving Maldini the ‘I take my hat off to you’ gesture].

“As for Gattuso, we can’t forget what he did last season, it was right to give him the opportunity to start from the beginning of the season. He managed to give a precise identity, his Milan has always been a team, even on difficult days. He will have to continue to deal with the ‘ghost’ of Antonio Conte? He has the balls to resist and hold on.

Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti on June 18, 1994. (Photo by Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti on June 18, 1994. (Photo by Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“It’s a new role for Maldini? Yes, but thanks to his experience he has a global competence in football. Then, of course, if there is an important market negotiation, he will be the first to know that he has yet to learn the subject. It was a crime that Paolo was not involved with Milan. I find it absurd that he hadn’t returned before, but evidently he was no convinced of the previous project. And how do you blame him? There was a President who put his face out very little, overwhelmed by doubts of financial nature. And then, can I say it? There were too many people coming from Inter… it was something exaggerated. Now the club has made a good turn and finally there is clarity.

“What do I say when people talk of Tassotti-Costacurta-Baresi-Maldini? I would also add Galli… I say that we marked that era because in addition to individual skills, we had an understanding that helped us hide the defects. The secret was that we could read the game situations all in the same way.

Mauro Tassotti and Leonardo before Milan-Atalanta at Stadio San Siro on February 28, 2010. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
Mauro Tassotti and Leonardo before Milan-Atalanta at Stadio San Siro on February 28, 2010. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

“I was Leo’s assistant coach? He can do a lot of things, he’s a man of the world and of communication. As a coach, he was at his first experience, his belief was more of an attempt, and I don’t know if he really wanted to do that. In fact, he occasionally showed it. He loved more the managerial aspect of the players, the mental preparation over the tactics, which he, in fact, preferred to delegate to his assistants. Actually, I think he didn’t have clear ideas on what to do until a few months ago [laughs].

“Being the assistant coach of Ancelotti? He’s finally back in Italy. It’s very nice to find him in our league, he has also helped to raise the level. The destination is stimulating: seeing him at Napoli is something special and surprising. Thanks to his past and his human traits, he’s agreed by all. I don’t believe that in Naples they feel like the orphans of Sarri, even though Maurizio did great things.

“What’s that job like [being Ancelotti’s assistant]? With Carlo, it’s easy to work because he’s very calm. I’ve never seen him go out of control and the reason is as simple as it is important: he knows very well that in order to help the team, you need to remain lucid and cold. He has enormous competence which comes from working with Nils Liedholm and Arrigo Sacchi. He is very practical and intelligent trainer, he is putting his hands on Napoli without upsetting it. He only needs to make Napoli less recognizable and repetitive in some phases of the play.

Mauro Tassotti during Japan-Ukraine at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on March 27, 2018. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Mauro Tassotti during Japan-Ukraine at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on March 27, 2018. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“Where can Milan arrive? Finally I see them in the leading group, between those five teams with Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Inter who will play in the Champions League. But it will be necessary not to go wrong in the start, like what happened last year.

“I’ll cheer for Milan on Saturday despite Ancelotti? Obviously. But I tell you one thing: apart from the two challenges with Milan, I’ll also cheer for Carlo and his Napoli. It’s a beautiful team to see, you look at them with pleasure. So good luck to everyone, without excluding anyone

“What will Ancelotti and Gattuso say to each other when they meet on the pitch? I doubt that Carlo expected to find Rino as an opponent so quickly. I think they’ll move away from each other laughing.”

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Milan Wins

Haha! A true winner!

Good one Tassotti! You were always calm and mature during your tenure at Milan.

When you are done with Sweden, we need you back home – where you belong. Forza Milan!

Oluwa shevy

what is he coming back to do huh do you have any room for him is not anybody that stay or play in Milan would come back by the way we have Leo and maldini if any one should come back to our club shevechenko and kaka is ideal best of luck to the rossoneries on Saturday


Funny I started smiling after the last line. Football is just what it is, the emotions it brings when things are going rightly, and the sadness that comes when things re going the other way round. I hope Milan can spring up a surprise this year. Gattuso with the way Guardiola did with Barca; Milan winning the league, with the way Leicester did a couple of seasons ago. Forza Milan!!!


Where have Milan fans fallen to, comparing the great AC Milan with Leicester… you can compare Genoa or Cagliari with Leicester, not Milan…


On Maldini. ……….can I say it? There were too many people coming from inter. We were not wrong after all . Forza Tasotti

soheil balini

Why we never give him a chance to be our coach? he was one of the candidates all the times. before leo, before seedorf, before Inzaghi!

Martin Bernhard

Hey there soheil balini, Tassotti was given short stints as head coach 2 or 3 times after the sackings of various coaches but if i remember correctly then im pretty sure he said he wasnt exactly very fond of that speciffic role and would prefer being assistant coach instead.

soheil balini

Not actually. Before hiring Leonardo, he gave a plan to the club with galli. He wanted to make a young Milan based on Youth team, But they went for leo. I still think leo was a good choice. His milan is the only Milan i liked after Carleto era but I like tassoti to be our coach some day

Martin Bernhard

I cant remember that specifiically but if you say thats how it whent down im sure you are correct. When that is said i do recollect him atleast being quoted of saying he would be available if called upon but would stll prefer staying in the role as assistant. He obviously might have been misquoted but i think it was around the time when allegri was sacked. Personally i wouldnt mind him returning to the Club as he has allways been a great professional and would allways be of great value to the club. When that is said doubt it… Read more »

soheil balini

I remember Carleto interview when they asked him who would replace you. He said Tassoti and Galli had a very definitive plan to use our youth team player in main squad. Even Maldini believed that was a good Idea back then. anyway. I have a very accurate memory for things that does not matter 😀 in the meanwhile I forget where I park my car.

Martin Bernhard

Haha same here when i was younger i could pretty much remember each and every player in the entire serie a in one of the earlier 90ies seasons 🙂 I think such move would have been great as i have allways wanted a strong italian core of homegrown players spiced up with the best of talent that foreign Leagues can offer. With Berlusconi eventually losing interest in the team it could propably also have made us avoid the last 10 years of torment.


Tassotti looking sharp with that beard! Loved this interview, and just look at what Leo and Maldini has done, more and more legends are coming back it seems, in quick succession – not as part of the club, but just visiting, they all seem as excited as us fans. Which is awesome since they’re fans too:) Loved his remark about there being too many people from Inter, spot on:) Last season we had ex-interisti people as the head of our club, a romanista as coach, and a juventino as captain. It’s looking much better on paper this time of the… Read more »


Agreed. Too many Interistas says it all.


I miss seeing this guy on the touchline. One of the greats. As for Gattuso, he has the balls alright but can he hold on? I hope I’m wrong in being pessimistic about his chances because we need some continuity on the bench for a change.

Ross Oneri

There’s positivity flowing around AC Milan and I love it.


Here I go again with my very strong opinions again, but thats who I am. Hate or Love. Tassotti, you are indeed among the milan legends and I respect you. What I dont respect you for was under allegri. You were the defensive advisor for allegri and yet bonera started over and over and over and over and over after error after error after error after error. Bonera himself are the cause of atleast 50 milan defeats. I respect bonera for doing his best, no doubt. But he was not anywhere milan starter no matter what available squad. Shame on… Read more »


If Milan finish top 4, just imagine the potential lineup for next season that we could have.
Cutrone higuain
SMS Rabiot
RR Roma Caldara Cont

El pharaoh

That’s the same lineup we could have now apart from savic lol a lot more money would come in and I think we would strengthen the wings and the midfield

Oluwa shevy

Comment: I got 10 dislike because of tassoti fine I think you should all bring everyone that has played for Milan to come coach or be among board members people like costacurta serginho taiye taiwo Pirlo d betrayal jankulusky poli dida to come make Milan great again under Elliot you don’t run organization out of sympathy or means of legends or something you give it to the able hands and mind thinkers that can deliver if tasotti come as a coach or a director and flop all of you will ask for his exit and give names nonsense.am for the… Read more »

Martin Bernhard

Well first of all whether people get likes or dislikes shouldnt really matter to any poster or disuade what they write or have on their mind. When that is said wanting an uproven kaka (atleast post playing career) above a proven guy like tassotti with 20+ years of post playing career experience combined with 17 years at the club as a player pretty much says it all. Schevchenko has atleast a minute ammount of post playing career experience. Again then in the post right above throws several of our former greats under the bus while putting them in the same… Read more »


I am calling it here first…
If Milan makes it to top 4 this season, and we have sorted out the FFP rules, Neymar will become a Milan player next season.


I wonder why he never get the milan job ever since Ancelotti left , with the likes of seedorf inzaghi montella coming in