Maldini: “It could be a creative mercato which will not turn the team upside down, this Milan makes me happy, my wish for 2021 is to not stop dreaming”

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Paolo Maldini before Milan-Celtic at Stadio San Siro on December 3, 2020. (Daniele Buffa)

Paolo Maldini spoke to RAI on Saturday, discussing Stefano Pioli, Zlatan Ibrahimović, his son Daniel, the upcoming mercato and more.

While 2020 has been a nightmare for the majority of the world, it has actually been very good for Milan: the club has returned to center stage in Italy and is currently in first place after 14 games.

A lot of the credit belongs to the management and to Paolo Maldini. The Milan director gave an interview to RAI 2’s Dribbling, and you can find it below:

“This Milan makes me happy for the way that the play and the way they are, for their courage. These are all things we asked our players when they arrived here and those we found when in August 2018 I accepted this job,” Maldini stated.

“The secret of the change? Believing in what you do, in the players, we waited for the players. This is a team that needed to rebuild a base, which had changed over the years so it could not get going again. I believe that the discourse we made at the beginning was carried on into the following season and now you see the results, after 18 months. I did not think that this was necessary for my life, I stayed away from football for 9 years but with the idea of not necessarily returning. At the same time, I kept telling myself that if it happened I would enjoy it.

Paolo Maldini, Ivan Gazidis and Frederic Massara before Milan-Parma at Stadio San Siro on December 13, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

“What does it mean to deal with young guys? It means giving the necessary time to adapt. Those who have not tried it on their skin find it hard to understand. Not all clubs give the same stress and Milan is a club that takes away a lot from you: if a player works well elsewhere it doesn’t mean that he would work well at Milan.

“How do I experience the relationship with Daniel Maldini? He still lives at home with us, but at Milanello we greet each other in a very normal way, like what happened to me with my father. We are calm and it’s very natural because football is a sport and sport is general is very democratic. You are here because you are worth it. This must be a lesson for Daniel, like it was for me, that he is here because he deserves to be here. Many things annoy him, those were the same thing that bothered me when my father spoke to me. In the end, the people who are close to you are the ones who hurt you the most when they tell you things.

“There’s been a Maldini at Milan for 66 years? The history of Milan and my family is something special. In addition to a long belonging, we have been lucky – both my father and I – to have had many successes and so the wish for Daniel is that he can have similar successes.

Paolo Maldini and Stefano Pioli hugging at the end of Milan-Lazio at Stadio San Siro on December 23, 2020. (Jonathan Moscrop Sportimage)

“If my phrase ‘I think for myself and that can sometimes wreak havoc’ still applies? When you’ve had a beautiful and successful life filled with more than satisfying personal relationships, then it’s normal to gain an independence of thought. I believe that a person, with his head, still makes the difference.

“The fact that I believed a lot in Pioli? Stefano has many characteristics of a great coach. We have a very open relationship and we tell each other everything. Also because it’s the only way to get results.

“What can I tell you about Leão’s six-second goal? It’s something practically unrepeatable but if you don’t try it then it will never happen. Working, working hard when you enter the Milanello gates – is a little secret to always carry with you. It’s one of the little secrets that are not secret. You have to forget your own thoughts and concentrate on exactly what is required.

Paolo Maldini and Zlatan Ibrahimović before Milan-Celtic at Stadio San Siro on December 3, 2020. (Daniele Buffa)

“How is Ibrahimović? Zlatan faces everything head-on and is therefore angry because he was close to returning. But muscle problems concern everyone, especially in the COVID-19 era and those who have it have not only suffered from the disease but also from playing every three days.

“What kind of mercato it will be? It could be a creative mercato, perhaps looking for opportunities. But it will certainly not turn upside down the team that has shown in 2020 that it can be competitive.

“If a vice-Ibrahimović arrive? We have Zlatan and many alternatives. The alternatives are Leão, Rebić, Colombo and Daniel who has also played there and therefore we have a series of young players in whom we believe. We have played them, we have kept our word and we are first in the standings. Everything that has happened, even in the difficult times, has led us to feel very strong from the point of view of our spirit, we don’t want to go looking for something that we don’t think is necessary.

Paolo Maldini before Napoli-Milan at Stadio San Paolo on November 22, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

“An anecdote about my relationship with Sacchi? A year ago I said that I remember the nightmares of all the things he said to me and of coming home after the physical and mental work. And 30 years later he sent me a message to apologize… but it was not a negative thing – on the contrary. If I have become a perfectionist then it’s also thanks to him.

“What do I hope for in 2021? A return to normality. As far as my work and this team are concerned, my wish is to not stop dreaming. I’m very practical and realistic but dreams sometimes allow you to get where you didn’t think you would.

“What kind of football would be it after the pandemic? We hope first of all to be able to account on the fans because maybe the players have gotten a bit used to empty stadiums, but the show is different. I don’t say it’s depressing because we are talking about sports and rivalries, but the real gist is missing: the passion of the fans.

“Being on the France Football Dream Team? It is a great pride and honestly it’s something I’ve been very pleased about. Just the thought of being able to play with all these Champions, even if it’s impossible, remains a dream.”

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ZionTrian
ZionTrian
8 months ago

Maldini, please get the following players:
CB – Mohamed Simakan
DM – Zambo Anguissa or Soumare
CF – Milik or Scamacca

We will definitely win the scudetto with these players added to the team in January. Thauvin can wait until next summer.

Deku
Deku
8 months ago
Reply to  ZionTrian

Kabak should be in my opinion the main target for Milan, the guy has shown what he’s got, on the other hand Simakan is an untested player. for proxy-Kessie Rongier, Gagliardini, Koopmeiners, Menino are all great options as well, might be even cheaper. Ludovic Ajorque is the closest player we can find to Ibra, he is same height as him(maybe even taller i don’t remember exactly), has 50% goal participation for imo one of the weakest sides in Ligue 1, with 6 goals and 4 assists and even Tifo did a video saying that he has very similar playing style… Read more »

Ashraf
8 months ago
Reply to  ZionTrian

Kabak saumare scamaca and right winger Lucas vasgues from Madrid for free

ZionTrian
ZionTrian
8 months ago
Reply to  Ashraf

Kabak is price at 25m and Schalke doesn’t seem willing to negotiate. Simakan deal can be closed around 13-15m. I saw him play against PSG and he’s really good. Sassuolo doesn’t seem likely to sell Scamacca. I don’t think he will arrive at Milan. Soumare has a 30m price tag. I like him but I honestly think Andre Zambo Anguissa is better especially with moving the ball forward in tight spaces and playing thru passes. I would like Lucas Vasquez and Thauvin at RW next summer. Saelemaekers and Castellijo are not good enough in my opinion. Their finishing and passes… Read more »

Deku
Deku
8 months ago
Reply to  ZionTrian

so we should keep getting average CBs? we need one top CB as a Romagnoli’s partner and it’s Kabak.

Nathan Graegin
Nathan Graegin
8 months ago

I read we are interested in brobbery, he seems fast, strong and has aerial ability. He should be considered for cf as well. Not sure how good the other cf are but we need more speed. I haven’t seen anyone outside of zlatan, benz, haaland and lewandowski that can truly be a target striker. I agree with the cb and cdm options but in forward we need speed amd we most def need a winger for the right side. We simply can’t allow our right side to be almost useless for this long

Milan10
Milan10
8 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Graegin

thats cute and all but this ur boy? “Timo Werner’s shooting in his last 10 games for Chelsea: 20 shots. 8 Big Chances. 0 goals.” – Squawkafootball. like i said, wingers/side midfielders and wing/fullbacks need to be fast because they need to take on defenders in tight space on the flanks but u dont need to be mbappe playing cb, dm, am, st. cantona was slow but he was so much better player for man utd than speed merchant gabriel obertan. ur idol so far has played 22 games this season scoring 8 times whereas andre silva has played 13,… Read more »

Nathan Graegin
Nathan Graegin
8 months ago
Reply to  Milan10

Hakan is not Milan’s top scorer. And I said we should look at that kid from Ajax bc he has size and he’s fast. It’s a good combo. I never said the only thing a forward needs is speed. You failed to copy and paste my message about the qualities a forward should have. And I already stated the forwards that are like zlatan that are effective right now as a lone cf. outside of them we should look at a person with speed. You think just bc one person is struggling they are a failure in a brand new… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
8 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Graegin

ibra and hakan ARE milan topscorers, come on. i didnt say hakan is 1st above ibra though. go check the stats. if u want neres, hell even garbage like deulofeu to play rw to add speed into milan attack then yes i agree but stating that speed is the most important thing for am and st is way off the mark. u dont have to be speed merchant to play certain positions. hell, u even mentioned benzema, lewi, ibra to prove my point. i bring up werner because u kept mentioning him as ideal st because u considered him fast.… Read more »

Zulfiqar
Zulfiqar
8 months ago

Sir i love you and your passion for milan is addictive; please get Haaland and Ozil

Deku
Deku
8 months ago
Reply to  Zulfiqar

Ozil? why would we need that overrated since Madrid, out of fuel and passion player?

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Zulfiqar

I think Milan will get Haaland after we qualify for the CL. That is what news agent said. Milan are already talking about him with Mino Raiola who is Haaland’s agent. Mino has forbidden Dortmund to put over 75 Million release clause on him. So that Haaland freely chose his next destination without being held for a crazy ranson. And the same sources claim that Haaland is desperate about Milan who he wants to join. So he keeps asking Hague about us. But I will bet my money that our management has Haaland on sight to replace pa Ibra in… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
8 months ago

TONITE ON LIKE MILAN10 SAID “Milan10 2 months ago regarding rw and st the uninitiated keep bitching about, milan have saladmaker, samu, rebic, leao, hauge, conti, brahim and now dalot to fill rw position. how many more players do milan really need? as for st position rebic had freak accident and other 2 st ibra and leao contracted covid. realistically, how often would freak occurences like those happen? ibra, leao and rebic are enough. the uninitiated might say leao and rebic cant play st. well, like i said back then during suso day, skillful wingers can be converted to st/ss.… Read more »