Gazidis: “Elliott’s objective is to bring pride to the fans and make them believe, Pioli makes everything look easy, the January mercato? There is a fairly magical balance to preserve, Ibra…”

14
Ivan Gazidis during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Daniele Buffa)

Ivan Gazidis has given a long interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport, stating ‘I do not want to impose limits on the dreams of the players and fans’.

Milan have been the best side in Italy in 2020 and are currently sitting at the top of the Serie A table after 14 rounds.

While many get carried away with the success and are filled with emotion passion, it is the role of CEO Ivan Gazidis to keep everything in check and keep the feet of Milan firmly on the ground.

Gazidis spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Alessandra Bocci and Marco Pasotto at Casa Milan and you can find the fully-translated interview below:

Mr. Gazidis, tell us something simple: what is Elliott’s objective?
“To bring pride to the fans, but to make them believe, the first ones to believe must be us. To believe strongly in something, starting with a confidence that comes from work and preparation. It’s not easy, though. It’s not enough to say ‘I believe’ and that’s it. It’s action that creates confidence. We need to move and build with humility because we haven’t won anything, we’re not at the end of the road. If even for a moment we feel satisfied – we are dead. We need to keep working, but this is a process that makes us happy.”

We are convinced that the fans, with a title in their hands, would be even more proud…
“For now, we do not foresee a set objective, because we are on a path. We must remain humble, we will make mistakes, but we learn from them and with a common vision we can overcome them. I can certainly say that for me this is not a financial and a business project. My first motive is passion. I moved to the U.S. when I was 28-years-old to start the MLS, I was a layer, my relatives and friends thought I was crazy, but I was not interested in a business project: I was driven by my passion for football, which I still have. So much so that I was a sporting director and wasn’t following the financial side. So now there can’t be a more beautiful story than what we are and what I’m living with Milan.”

Ivan Gazidis and Paolo Scaroni during Milan-Vicenza at training center Milanello on September 9, 2020. (Spada LaPresse)

Let’s try to ask you in another way: Ibra said that dreaming of the Scudetto is legitimate…
“[Long pause for reflection]. The season is long and I don’t want to impose limits on the dreams of the players and fans. Chasing dreams and believing in our abilities is important. But to have only dreams without work, preparation and teamwork is equivalent to having no opportunities. With all these ingredients, anything is possible. I have my dreams and also my nightmares… Ibra knows what it takes to dream, what it takes to achieve dreams, because he knows that behind every dream there is hard work. For me it’s the same. My focus is on the work. When I’m asleep – I dream, but when I’m awake – I work. The year I started my adventure in the U.S., people were saying it was impossible to create a professional football league over there and then we saw how it went. I see similarities here.”

So Elliott didn’t give a real ‘mission’ in terms of sporting results…
“My job is not to set objectives with specific terms, but to take the club towards a future vision of which the financial part is just a component, a means to create opportunities and pride. To achieve this you need a team that creates emotions, the players must play with passion and unity and I see a lot of sense of belonging. I see young players who don’t have money as an objective, but as something that can enrich them in another way, starting with motivation. When we talk about self-sustainability, we don’t mean it’s an end, but a means. This club belongs to Europe and it was very painful to accept its exclusion.”

Ivan Gazidis and Paolo Maldini during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 17, 2020. (Daniele Buffa)

People also wonder how long the Elliott management will last. And maybe they’d like to know more about Paul and Gordon Singer…
“Paul [the head of the Elliott fund] is a fan, for sure. But it’s a different ownership compared to those that have characterized some Italian clubs in the past. I can say that, just as there is no timetable in terms of objectives, Elliott does not set time limits on its management of the club. As for Gordon [Paul’s son], he too is an expert and is passionate about football, and he follows Milan closely: he often sends me messages during matches to comment on them, but he will never call to say ‘I want you to change the coach’ or ‘this player is not doing well’. What the ownership believes in is a serious project, with a clear strategy that can bring the club back to high levels and not in passion without control. Milan is not just a football team – it is an important global community, which starts from Milano. It is an institution for the country and for the world. We have a great responsibility, and also the owners are fully aware of it. This is coming from someone who now feels not only Italian, but very Milanese…”

In the meantime, everything is working perfectly. Let’s take a look, starting with Maldini…
“Paolo represents the history of the club, but this is not the reason why I believe in him. I believe in him because he is a person who looks ahead, embraces new things, works with humility and passion but also intelligence. This is something I immediately saw, as soon as I arrived. Maldini is the point of reference for a sector that works in the right way in all its components, with Paolo as a point of reference.”

Paolo Scaroni, Ivan Gazidis, Frederic Massara, Stefano Pioli and Paolo Maldini during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

And Pioli has gone from the uncomfortable status of a coach at the end of his run, to a new hero…
“He is a man of extraordinary depth. He arrived at a complicated moment, he had a complicated challenge ahead of him. What impressed me is that he does things simply, he makes everything look easy, even when it’s not. He was good at not giving weight to what was around him, and in fact the solution was right under our noses. When we realized that he could make our vision a reality, moving forward with him was the normal thing to do. I really appreciate the way he works and the way he’s off the pitch; style is important. The truth is that even when we found ourselves in difficult moments, I could see a light in the team’s play and at no time, neither I, nor Maldini nor Massara, thought that everything was over. There was something that gave us hope. Our football is now progressive and innovative, applied with courage and seriousness.”

Now that the bar has been raised, Pioli expects concrete results from everyone…
“We don’t want to impose a fixed objective for the standings because it’s not that simple. Things are not so clear-cut, there are overall evaluations. For us, it’s more important to see the progress towards the objective, which is to give us a future at a high.”

Ivan Gazidis, Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara during Milan-Juventus at Stadio San Siro on July 7, 2020. (@imagoimages)

Further strengthening of the squad in January could be a good initiative…
“This team is a delicate organism, with many ingredients, there is a fairly magical balance to preserve. The choices must be consistent. For example, there are personalities that emerge, like Kalulu: he was ready because he worked. So it is necessary to fish for the right people and not take someone just to do it. Maldini is sensitive and intelligence, so he knows how maintain a balance.”

In order to maintain it, it would be better if Ibra stayed still…
“We haven’t talked about a renewal yet. It will be a decision not only of the club but also of his. He is a special person with extraordinary motivation and great intelligence. This combination gives him great strength in everything he does. We had already tried to get him in January 2019, but he told us ‘no’ because his story with LA Galaxy was not over. Ibra makes the group better because he challenges you to give more, and this challenge is accepted by everyone: the players and the club. At this level finding an extra 5% inside makes the difference.”

Ivan Gazidis during an event on December 15, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

Speaking of renewals: what is the situation of Donnarumma and Çalhanoğlu?
“The discussions proceed. And there is no doubt about their professionalism and this is important. I perceive a very positive environment. But I would like to make an important clarification.”

Please…
“Our story is a collective and not an individual one. When the players sing ‘Pioli is on fire’, the chorus is not really about Pioli but rather they think about the collective. In this team everyone fights for one another, when one makes a mistake there is great support. If you ask me what the secret of the team is, then this is it. It’s hard to talk about individuality. We often talk about Ibra, OK, but everyone has a beautiful and entertaining story to offer. Zlatan’s absence has strengthened the team. And also the team has given something to him.”

You, on the other hand, together with Inter, are about give a new stadium to Milano…
“This city needs a stadium for the future. In the MLS I saw hos stadiums gave a very strong impulse to the development of football. San Siro is a myth, but this is not the theme. The theme is that if we say ‘no’ now, we already know what will happen. We have to think about future generations of fans and of their needs.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
25 days ago

Thank you for keeping Maldini and Pioli after seeing what they are achieving. Thank you for helping in stabilizing the club which was almost sinking. Thank you for bringing in sponsors and improving the commercial value of the club. Many people hate you because they think you destroyed arsenal lol, But we see what you’re doing here and your decisions at Milan are for the good of the club as a whole and not for individualistic ideas. Graziee

Milan10
Milan10
25 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

yeah, thank you for firing boban basically for nothing exactly when he was about to get szoboszlai and modric, among other players. thank you for making rangnick jobless. pioli, ibra and maldini, the 2 people he was about to fire and 1 guy he vetoed twice, saved his ass last season so he swallowed his pride and made them stay even though he’s been doing back door deal with rangnick. he also refused ibra and modric and is about to refuse papu gomez. this guy turned arsenal into mediocre team full of garbage young players. luckily milan have maldini and… Read more »

MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
24 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

*yawnn*

MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
24 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

You probably peed on your pants as a kid at least once.. you grew wiser and listened to your parents to pee right after that. People make mistakes and grow wiser. He’s human too. Compared to the number of mistakes so many “experienced” managers and directors made previously down the line over the years for our club, I can forgive him for firing Boban(He would’ve stayed too if he didnt go on a public rant btw.). The club is in great harmony. Gazidis is part of the family and is doing well financially for bringing in the money. You must… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
24 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

arsenal were unbeaten champions of epl AND ucl finalists before nazidis came along. what did nazidis do? he turned arsenal into cash cow which preferred selling their star players to balance the book than actually buying star players so they could actually compete with the big boys. arsenal were better before nazidis. FACHT. nazidis vetoed ibra transfer twice and modric + cesc once. it is also reported that maldini wanted papu but milan said no because he’s too old. what does that tell u? he doesnt learn from his arsenal days that its sometimes better to buy proven players rather… Read more »

MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
23 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

Dude… haha not even gonna argue with your silly statements which hold so much grudge on a guy. I DONT CARE WHAT HE DID IN ARSENAL OR BEFORE THAT. Pioli was nothing before he came here. Now he’s gold. And all those numbers u got from La Gazzetta reported by some reporter? Really? La Gazetta said earlier today that Leao is unsettled by Rube’s interest. LMAO. You, me or anyone outside the club have 0 accurate information on any numbers. Please just stick with your garbage name-calling post match analysis pls. After sooooo many years of horrible performances in the… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
23 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

are u saying la gazzetta, the most revered sport newspapers in italy, would make up those numbers thus its not accurate? lol. fiorentina and sassuolo make more than milan from shirt sponsorship, which means nazidis does worse job than sassuolo and fiorentina’s CEOs. FACHT. if u cant provide FACHT then u should stop talking. even maldini looked uncomfortable hugging nazidis to celebrate theo’s goal vs lazio. u can see the body language. nazidis destroyed arsenal whereas pioli took lazio to ucl. big difference. like i said, just because u support nazidis and wanted ibra and maldini gone doesnt mean u… Read more »

Cuongminhtran
Cuongminhtran
24 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

Agrre with all of you. But I myself think Gazidis have been on lucky period, I stated a lot of time that “He earns high salary but do nothing since he arrived” . In fact:
1.He “must” keep Maldini&Pioli because of Ragnick’s high demands and Club’s bad finance in that time
2. He was being inheritted by the Team’s successes.

MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
23 days ago
Reply to  Cuongminhtran

Either way it worked out and now it seems to me like he is much more in harmony with Maldini and Pioli than ever before. Thats what the club needs. A cohesive group – top to bottom together!

Milan10
Milan10
23 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

thats only because maldini and pioli have been proving nazidis wrong thus he had no choice but to eat his own words and keep them. sucks for boban and rangnick though

Milan10
Milan10
23 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

WE NOW RETURN TO FOOTBALL VIRGIN MUSING “MilanEstonia 9 months ago Oh boy, here we go again. Gazidis is gonna ruin this team. This is a Glorious team with great history – I don’t think the young model team like Leipzig, Arsenal will work – Arsenal haven’t done anything great for more than a decade now. I trusted elliot but looks like they are gonna strip everything for us. What next – sell donnaruma? Maldini and Boban are Milan. They deserve respect and they are doing everything possible best with the limited resources. #gazidisOut” apparently someone’s been opportunistically changing opinions… Read more »

MilanEstonia
MilanEstonia
23 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

Hahaha you literally had to do 9 months back tracking? So jobless. The FACTS* are that I don’t deny saying those. It was early stages when No one knew what was happening. The team was in pieces. If you know how to read and understand English[I hardly doubt because you can’t spell much correctly], my early points in this thread was pointing to the value where “people make mistakes and change their view and approach after learning from them.” That’s pretty human for me to accept Gazidis. I always thought you were less smarter if not average but now looks… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by MilanEstonia
Milan10
Milan10
23 days ago
Reply to  MilanEstonia

“Hahaha you literally had to do 9 months back tracking?” lol i knew u would say that. well, maybe its too much for ur brain but its actually quite simple: i remembered exactly when nazidis fired boban and almost fired maldini so i searched for articles with keyword “maldini” that were posted during that period and walah, found it. took me <2 mins. anyone who went to college must be apt at searching for sources. i dont know if u have a job or not, hell i dont even know if ur old enough to have a job but would… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Milan10
Ranajaya
Ranajaya
21 days ago
Reply to  Milan10

Walah, jebret…..u must be Indonesian, javanese to be exact