D. Maldini: “It was the right time to leave Milan, it was my decision, I am ready to adapt to other positions and I will learn new things with Gotti”

Daniel Maldini during England U20-Italy U20 at Technique Stadium on October 07, 2021. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Daniel Maldini spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport as he prepares for his experience after leaving Milan on loan.

Daniel comes from a legacy of serial winners, and so it’s no wonder that also at home, with his father Paolo and brother Christian, they compete in ‘the game of keys’: “It’s hard to explain,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport’s G.B. Olivero.

“You basically have 2 touches to position yourself on a specific tile in the room and to kit the key that is inserted in the lock with the ball. Me, Christian and father Paolo have been having fun this way for years”.

Daniel smiles as he tells the story, thinking back on the home challenges. “We all win in turn”, he added, but he knows that for the time being the ‘game of keys’ will only be a nice memory: “For the first time I am leaving, although soon a friend will join me. Mom is a little worried, Dad is calmer. So am I: I am just and simply going my own way.”

Maldini is now a player of Spezia, at least for the next season, and he will hope to make a name for himself and be known as ‘Daniel Maldini’ and not ‘son of Paolo and grandson of Cesare’.

Daniel Maldini during Spezia-Como at Alberto Picco Stadium on August 6, 2022. (Tassone)

Daniel, when did you realize that you could breathe football in your home?
“Over time, in a natural way. In reality, I paid little attention to grandpa and dad’s careers: I was happy for them, it was good to know what they had done, and as I grew up I went looking for their videos. I knew there was something different in the house, but I always experienced everything quietly. And I didn’t care if someone said I played in the Milan youth team because of my last day. Dad, the son of a great football player, had lived through the same experience but he always saw me calm so there was no need for him to tell me anything in particular. In our home, example is worth more than words. I was lucky enough to enjoy my grandfather Cesare for a few years and I always remember the lunches and how much he stressed the importance of serenity.”

Your father used to do challenges with the tram on the way home from practice. Did you inherit his taste for competition?
“Definitely. I never raced against the tram, but between us we were constantly challenging each other in a thousand games.”

Some time ago Paolo told La Gazzetta: ‘I want Christian and Daniel to be serious, my wife and I use the stick when needed. They are good guys and I am happy with them’. Do you remember the last time he used the stick on you?
“It was recently, don’t ask me why… We, however, joke more than we talk. And if I have to confide, I talk to Christian more. Even in the decision to leave Milan on loan and move to Spezia, I talked a little with Dad, but it was my decision.”

Who was happier about the Scudetto, you or Dad?
“Both equally. In the last few weeks I was injured and when you stay out, the tension increases. We started to believe in it after the Derby win. The Scudetto was in the air, there was a particular magic. During the year the conviction had grown, we were just afraid to say it. This Scudetto is the proof that nothing is impossible in sport.”

How sorry were you to leave Milan?
“It was the right time. I was especially sorry to leave a beautiful, young and enthusiastic group. And then all the people who work at Milanello and make you feel at home every day. But at La Spezia, I was welcomed very well, both in the locker room and in the city.”

You played 4 times at La Spezia (2 with the Primavera team, 1 with Milan in Serie A and 1 a few days ago in the Coppa Italia) and scored 6 goals…
“A good average eh… We really hope to continue like this. Joking aside, I like hitting free kicks and entering the penalty area on the run, but also making assists.”

Daniel Maldini during Spezia-Como at Alberto Picco Stadium on August 6, 2022. (Tassone)

For the moment, Spezia play without a trequartista. An added difficulty?
“I am ready to adapt to other positions and I will learn new things with Gotti: maybe I’ll be able to do the false 9, second striker and attacking midfielder. We’ll see. Now I have more awareness of my abilities and I hope they emerge. The first objective is to make myself useful to Spezia to achieve salvation. Then join the Under 21 group. And then there would be another one…”

Which is?
“That you look at me without thinking about my Dad. And I don’t know if that will happen. But to make it happen, I have to play well.”

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