Gandini: “Roma-Milan is important for both teams, Boban can be an excellent director, Massara is a man of football”

Umberto Gandini after the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 play-off draw at the UEFA headquarters on August 9, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

Umberto Gandini has spoken ahead of Sunday’s match between Milan and Roma at Stadio Olimpico.

This has been a troublesome season for the Diavolo so far, as Milan sit in 12th place with just 10 points after 8 rounds, and they’ve already sacked a coach.

The Rossoneri face Roma on Sunday at 18:00 CET at Stadio Olimpico for Stefano Pioli’s second match in charge. Looking at football bets odds, it’s clear that Milan are the underdogs heading into the game this weekend, and it doesn’t seem that football betting people are willing to bet on football that is played by Milan against Roma.

Umberto Gandini, who worked at Milan as a director for 23 years, and then from 2016 to 2018 was Roma’s CEO, spoke to Friday’s edition of Tuttosport ahead of the game:

Gandini, what Roma-Milan do I expect to see on Sunday?
“It’s a very important match for both teams. It might say a lot about Milan’s ambition to go up again, but also about Roma, who are not going through a happy moment in the league. The Giallorossi have a myriad of injuries that are affecting Fonseca’s work, while Milan are coming off a two-sided match against Lecce after changing coach. If they both want to be included in the list of the Champions League contenders, they will have to try to start from three points on Sunday. In some ways, even if it’s the end of October, they are in front of a real test of maturity.”

Umberto Gandini on during the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 play-off draw at UEFA headquarters on August 9, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Umberto Gandini on during the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 play-off draw at UEFA headquarters on August 9, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

It had never happened before that Milan changed the coach so early. In your opinion, why was this choice made?
“It will seem like a trivial answer, but in today’s football, more than yesterday’s, only the results on the pitch count. There is no time to make mistakes. Milan have made choices, made a certain mercato and they have a conception of the value of the team that is not showing to reflect the evaluation or that it deserves fourth place. In the first 7 Matchdays, the directors saw that the team was not giving, in terms of results and play, what they had in mind and they decided to change.”

In your opinion, in these years, have the rumours around Milan influenced the team’s results?
“I don’t believe that corporate events have a direct effect on the team. In other environments, and this is not the case with Milan, in these past corporate events were used as an alibi to cover other shortcomings, like players. I’m convinced that a strong team on the pitch is often a reflection of the management behind it. It’s obvious how important it is to have a team that produces results, but that’s why we need to a strong management behind it. The continuous changes that have taken place, forced or not, from the Chinese ownership to today, have not yet allowed, in my opinion, the establishment of a leadership.”

Zvonimir Boban during Stefano Pioli’s presentation at Casa Milan on October 9, 2019. (

Can Zvone Boban be the leader in question?
“Zvone, for his personality, culture, authority and experience he’s gain, both in football and in other fields, has the characteristics to assume a certain role. The fact that he has recently put himself out there publicly and that he’s taken on responsibilities, makes him go in that direction. He has the characteristics to be an excellent director.”

You worked with Ricky Massara at Roma. Today he is at Milan. What kind of directors do the Rossoneri have at home?
“He is an extremely prepared person. He’s a man of football, with great competence. He knows the material. He’s perfectly complementary to Boban and Maldini. I have a very high regard for Ricky. I have very great esteem for Ricky. I worked with him in two periods at Roma, after Sabatini and with Monchi. He is an excellent professional.”

Stadio San Siro before Inter-Juventus on April 27, 2019. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

New stadium for Roma and for the Milanesi: are you still from the ‘yes’ party?
“Sure. Having worked so many years in Milano, I know the situation of San Siro well. The last renovations were made on the occasion of the 2016 Champions League final, but I believe that we’ve reached the maximum of what can be done. Other necessary restructuring cannot be done due to various factors. A new stadium would serve the two squads of Milano, as well as Roma.”

What memory do you have of your experience at Roma?
“I would say very positive. At Rome, I tasted again the great European levels, with the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. It is a cutting-edge club. They got off to a good start with Fonseca, but injuries are penalizing them. They have players with great future like Zaniolo, Ünder and Kluivert, and players of great personality and skill like Džeko and Kolarov.”

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