Tassotti: “Milan have a base and quality, Ibra is worth an economic sacrifice, I would give Calabria another chance”

Mauro Tassotti during Italy-Ukraine at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on October 10, 2018. (@imagoimages)

Mauro Tassotti believes Milan only need 2-3 signings to be competitive but says all depends on whether Zlatan stays.

Milan finished the 2019-20 season on a 12-match unbeaten run in Serie A which secured them a place in the Europa League qualification stage.

Next season the objective will once again be returning to the Champions League. With the Diavolo returning to the pitch in just over a month, La Gazzetta dello Sport conducted an interview with Mauro Tassotti, the legendary Milan right-back and assistant coach, who nowadays works with Andriy Shevchenko in the Ukraine national team.

Tassotti, Milan are looking for a right-back…
“I don’t understand why we should give you on a guy like Calabria who comes from the Youth Sector. Sure, it would ensure a valuable capital gain. Of course, he didn’t have a good season. But I would give him another chance.”

There is talk of Dumfries and Aurier for the future…
“Dumfries would be a prospect, but like I said, I wouldn’t take the chance away from Calabria. Also Conti was penalized by injuries, so selling him now wouldn’t make sense even considering the club’s budget situation, his price could go up.”

Zvonimir Boban, Demetrio Albertini, Franco Baresi and Mauro Tassotti during the 1994-95 season. (@imagoimages)

The first question, however, is Ibrahimović. The signature is expected and has not yet arrived. Would you keep him?
“Logically, yes. He’s strong, very strong and he’s worth an economic sacrifice. He’s received from Milan and has given to Milan. Age is what it is but I think it’s possible to find an agreement to stay together. There’s the technical aspect, which is indisputable, and there is the rest. Rafael Leão, for instance, developed with him. And then if he doesn’t stay then another solution would have to be sought. It wouldn’t be easy.”

Milan hung up waiting for Zlatan’s signing?
“I don’t think so, I guess the directors of have thought of other ways, but replacing Ibrahimović is quite complicated. It’s also difficult to manage him, he wants to play always and in every case. But he’s an intelligent man. He understands what he can do and Pioli has been good at finding an understanding. He’s made him perform at his best.”

Mauro Tassotti and Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrating at the end of Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on November 14, 2010. (@imagoimages)

Is the mercato blocked?
“I don’t see much movement in the other clubs either. This season was strange, the consequences of it will be strange as well.”

Is Milan that far from the top?
“From the top, yes, because Juventus and Inter are certainly traveling on other tracks for the moment. But it doesn’t seem to be that the other clubs have done so much to get closer and I believe that with some adjustments Milan can play with everyone. I don’t think they have much to envy Lazio and Roma. They just need a bit more time because many players are young and need experience. The quality is there. You don’t get this many points at the end of the campaign, no matter how strange it was in Italy after the lockdown, just by chance. The base is there. Milan must maintain continuity in their performance, then there’ll be integrations.”

How much do you think?
“2-3 acquisitions are enough. Milan aren’t a technically poor team and with the successes of these months they’ve gained confidence. Trust is important to achieve great objectives.”

Would a right-back, a midfielder and maybe a center back be enough?
“It all depends on Ibrahimović. If he doesn’t stay then everything we have to be rethought.”

Mauro Tassotti and Paolo Maldini in a hotel room. (@imagoimages)

Maldini arrived with Leonardo, who left. He involved Boban, who was fired. Do you think he’s right to stay?
“No matter what. For his skills, for what he does, for his history and for the value his name has in the world. Paolo is Milan. They say he made a mistake in some choices: you don’t crucify a director for that. We must also give time to make mistakes.”

Do you think the Elliott fund should spend more?
“These owners have spent, they have found many heavy contracts in their hands, and they had to pull out important players like Higuain and Bonucci. The moment is what it is. I don’t condemn Elliott. However, Milan must return to the top and I repeat that in my opinion it’s not too late to get there.”

What should we start from in the upcoming season?
“From the confirmation of fundamental players. Not only Ibrahimović, but also Hernández, Bennacer, Rebić, obviously Donnarumma and Romagnoli. Milan have a base. If you can keep it, you won’t need much more. It will take some time but the fans have already shown their patience. If you feel the desire to return to certain levels, you can beat the wait.”

Mauro Tassotti and Andriy Shevchenko during Serbia-Ukraine at Red Star Stadium on November 17, 2019. (@imagoimages)

As assistant coach of Ukraine, how will you experience the match between Shakhtar and Inter?
“By studying the situation. Shakhtar are doing well, but everything is different against Inter. Inter are a high-quality team and the technique changes everything.”

Pirlo became the coach of Juventus immediately. What do you think?
“Andrea was a magnificent player. Being a coach is a different job and we’ll have to see if it’s in his blood. But if Juventus have chosen him, they’ve had their clues.”

Some mentioned your name for the Juventus staff…
“Nobody has called me. And I’m well where I am, I would stay very well.”

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Zion Train

Calabria is not good defensively and neither is Conti. Milan should cut their losses early and sign Denzel Dumfries.

Kalulu is a very talented young player and can be the backup to Dumfries while gaining valuable experience behind a leader who is the captain for PSV.

That’s the most intelligent choice for Milan. No to Surge Aurier. He’s just as inconsistent as Calabria and Conti. He will not be an upgrade especially at his age. I don’t even understand why we are linked to him.


Have you seen even one game with Dumfries? Calabria was one of the most promising players last season and I don’t think that could just change in a single season. Martial had 1st 2 seasons rough at Man Untd, but look at him now. Calabria had significant improvement at the end of the season. If 20-21 season will be as bad as his 19-20, Emerson, who is way better than Denzel, will have his loan ended with Betis and we can sign him for 20-25M instead of 30-32M that is his current Barca’s asking price (loan cancellation + add on… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Deku

I agree. I think we should keep Calabria and offload Conti instead. Then sign Emerson over Aurier. Denzel is a good choice too.

But in all honestly, calabria and conti arent great but they arent the worse either. They can still do the job imo. We need to be focusing on a solid CB, 2 Midfielders and 2 Wingers or 1 Winger and one Striker at least.

Milenkovic/Upemacano/Ruben Dias , Tonali,Florentino/Roca/Bakayoko , Szoboczlai/Chiesa/Zaracho/Angel Correa, and maybe Jovic on loan.


Tonali, Milenkovic, Chiesa would really put us on the next season Scudetto contenders list. Zaracho and Pessina would also be smart moves.

Gbenga AJOSE

The 3 areas we need to fix at all cost are right winger, one defence mildfielder to deputise for Kessié and Bennacer and one central defender. These 3 should be starters and not players with potentials. Potentials can be back ups. Since we are finding it hard to sell players let’s stay with what we have and we just need to top up with 3 solid additions. We should avoid buying many players and at the end, when there is problem, we can’t sell them. If we had money then we can sign as many as 6 to 7 solid… Read more »

Gbenga AJOSE

Milenkovic, Chiesa and Bakayoko will be very solid addition. Milenkovic can play as central defender also as right back . Chiesa can play both wings. These are tested and proven players. We should not make mistake again .


Agreed except Tonali can be deputy to both Kessie and Benncer, Bakayoko isn’t great passer nor is he known for his creativity, so Tonali is priority imo.


Joel Veltmann left Ajax and join EPL team for free. Cannot understand why Milan’s scout missed the opportunity. Veltmann can play very well as RB and CB too. He is turning to 28 this year. Could be useful for the next 2-3 years. Damn.

Last edited 3 years ago by WhereIsTheSpirit

Antee Robinson costs 2-3M and will be useful for the next 10 years.


Robinson is gone to Sheffield United. Forget him pls.

As for Theo’s deputy what abt Nuno Tavares of Benfica? he can play as LB/RB too


Like Sensi was a Milan player last season. Never too late until the official signing news comes in.