Paolo Maldini has stated ‘the journey is difficult’ to get back to the top, but assured that Boban’s and his presence is a guarantee that it won’t take 10 years.
Tomorrow Milan face Roma at Stadio San Siro and they’ll search for their first win with Stefano Pioli, who was appointed at the start of the month, after Giampaolo failed to get the desired results.
In the midst of this complicated time, Technical Director Paolo Maldini spoke to Sky Italia yesterday to give his views on certain things:
“The moment Milan are going through? The moment is delicate, but it’s part of the club’s growth. They have been three changes of ownership in a few years, which have undermined the team. This year’s change of coach was not expected. It was a reluctant choice, which we shared with the club. We took a coach with very strong concepts, to make up for the lack of experience of this team, which is a young team. A decision like this [sacking a coach] is better to take at the beginning of the season than hallway through when it’s all gone.
“The criticisms received? They were so many expectations, it’s normal. There’s one thing we weren’t good about and the ownership was not good about: talking about objectives. We inherited a liability of €125 million, we did a zero-cost mercato, there were many things unsaid, we were banned from Europe for the previous management, the fine of €12m was given to us for the previous management. The journey is difficult. If it is said clearly then people will have a more complete idea of the situation. And as for the criticism… I am used to it, I’m convinced of what I do, I know that I do it at my best, then whether I stay or not will depend on results.
“The team is better than last year, we want to improve the position in the standings. I’ve heard a lot of things, but let’s not forget where we come from: in the last 6 seasons – with different Presidencies – we finished in 10th and 8th places. Last year we did better, that’s a fact.
“Coming back to Milan? It was a decision of the heart. I will certainly end my career here, as I have no intention of doing this kind of work elsewhere. I hope to stay here forever. There is great passion for these club colors and nobody can doubt that. My history is there to prove it.
“The fact that this is a young team? The objective is to make the team win: if you suffer, but the team wins, then it has great meaning. The idea of rejuvenating the team was a shared choice, but we also all agree that no young team won the Scudetto or the Champions League. To do so, the inclusion of experienced players is required. The last two transfer windows? The important thing is that we didn’t sell our best players.
“Ibrahimović? He would be a dream return for many reasons, but I think within his mind there is a little fear that he won’t be the dominant Ibra of old. I remember when Ancelotti put me on the bench for a derby and that’s when I realized, I could not accept a season like that. I don’t know if Ibra could accept that either.
“Piątek? He is a strong player. He has to think more about playing with the team. He’s doing it, but his strength is scoring goals. The military salute made by Çalhanoğlu? We’re monitoring the situation. We don’t want to know why he did it, these are things related to people and family. At Milan, we have rules and politics is outside.
“The relationship with Berlusconi? He was a great President, the best I could have at age 19, after three years of playing as a starter at Milan. He’s a person I love and I always will. But his tendency to make jokes often makes him inelegant. But the affect will remain unchanged.
“When will Milan return to high levels? My history is weighty, the fact that I’m here with Zvone Boban shows that we don’t to go back to these levels in 10 or 15 years. I don’t have that kind of time. Or rather, I do, but I don’t want to wait. Our presence is a kind of guarantee of returning to certain levels in acceptable time, even if quantifying them is difficult. And if that’s not the case then it won’t be us who lead the sporting direction of Milan.
“If the idea of the club – and it’s not – is to be competitive again in 15 years’ time then we won’t be the ones to lead the sporting direction.”