Maldini: “Racism has nothing to do with Ibra, he stood up for his teammates, Tomori can make the difference”

Paolo Maldini before Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Spada LaPresse)

Paolo Maldini spoke about Zlatan Ibrahimović and other things before kickoff in the match against Bologna.

Milan beat Bologna 2-1 today after a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta and a 2-1 defeat to Inter, which also saw Ibrahimović get a red card following a physical and verbal confrontation with Romelu Lukaku.

There are reports in Italy that the authorities are looking into whether Zlatan said racist things towards Lukaku during the match and in light of these reports, Milan director Paolo Maldini made it clear that the club is standing by Ibra.

“The incident in the derby between Ibrahimović and Lukaku? I am very instinctive and always have been,” Maldini told Sky Italia before Bologna-Milan kicked off. “I have the image of a balanced man, and I suppose I am. With regards the derby, it was an ugly incident, it went on really for too long, but it ends there. We’ll see how it goes. If someone tries to pull racism into this, then we are prepared to defend our player, because racism has nothing to do with Ibra.

“Ibrahimović? He apologized to the team for leaving them down to 10 men. Lukaku was attacking his teammates for no reason, so he stood up for them. What happened was that it went on for far too long and it should’ve been closed much earlier. I don’t expect anything other than for him to be Ibra, and his statistics have been exceptional. This is a player who is eager, hungry and determined.

Ivan Gazidis and Paolo Maldini before Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Daniele Buffa)

“The renewal of Donnarumma? We froze negotiations for renewals until after the transfer window has shut. We have been protagonists in this window, the club allowed us to bring in players, we stayed within the budget set, we should be grateful and now have a squad capable of going all the way this season.

“Tomori? He is a player who can make the difference, because he is very physical and can both defend and attack with the four-man defense. Football is now more of a one-on-one situation, but I believe we must never lose the concept of a team unit defending. I think his characteristics combine the two. I believe the main problem with Tomori is that he hasn’t played enough so far in his career.

Paolo Maldini before Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Andrea Staccioli Insidefoto)

“The interest of Cremonese in Daniel? Ariedo [Braida] stormed me with phone calls for Colombo. He went to Cremonese, naturally on loan, because we believe in him. I’ve not been asked about Daniel. It’s a perfectly normal situation for a director, even if it means deciding the future of your own son. I knew full well when I accepted this position that I’d have to deal with this situation. I already negotiated a contract renewal and there should be no shame in rewarding a young guy who deserves it. My father accompanied me to my first contract negotiations, so I do know what it’s like and the balance one has to keep.

“What result would make me happy in the second half of the season? To get as many points as we did in the first half. We have a stronger squad now, we feel more aware of our capabilities and are not feeling the pressure. I always said, if we don’t win the Scudetto, that won’t be a failure. It’ll only be a setback if we are in a position to challenge for the title in the last 10 rounds and don’t even try, because that would show a lack of ambition.”

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Zlatan 01

Lukaku start d fight for no reason, and will defend ibra