A number of people connected with AC Milan’s history have preached about just how special the training ground at Milanello is.
Peppe Di Stefano, the well-known journalist and Milan correspondent for Sky Sport, presented his new book ‘Milanello, the devil’s house: Anecdotes, stories and background of the most successful sports centre in the world’ at the Sheraton Hotel in San Siro this evening.
MilanNews were live to cover the event which featured the following guests: Adriano Galliani, Stefano Pioli, Ariedo Braida, Paolo Maldini, Ricky Massara and many other important characters from the past and present of Milan.
Former sporting director Braida spoke first about how victories are built at Milanello…
“They are built with the state of belonging. When you enter you feel the magic, and this magic is transmitted to all who frequent it, even to journalists and strangers. They feel that there is something magical that then ends up on the pitch, with the victories that followed. I wish AC Milan many good things and a beautiful future, I hope it can reach the goal that all Milan fans hope for.”
Then is was the turn of Galliani, who couldn’t resist speaking about a couple of his deals…
“Sacchi massacred us for signing Ancelotti despite having knee problems. It seemed impossible to get him. I remember the President of Fiorentina saying no. Ariedo calls me at the Palace and tells me there was an opening. I flew to Rome and close the thing.
“Dr. Monti had advised us not to sign him, but I said nothing to the president. Sacchi also made him play on the wing, they were great, wonderful years. In 2001 he signed with Parma. We lost in Turin and on the eve of that match I spoke to Carlo. After the game, we call him and on Monday morning, at 9-9:30, we have breakfast at his house with a salami and culatello sandwich.
“We are the only team in the world that has had a father and a son who have won the Champions League. Milanello was born in 1963. I want to give Pioli a wish. He must be the fifth manager to win the Champions League, in addition to winning the Scudetto. To continue to keep Milanello the most successful sports centre in the world.”
“Is there a ghost? I heard this ghost story too. I’ve been to Milanello three or four thousand times, I’ve never heard of it. They said this thing is here, but I’ve never met him.”
Ex-Milan boss Ancelotti is still making great strides with Real Madrid, and he reflected on the magic of Milanello…
“Milanello was, for 13 years, a second home, perhaps even the first. What do I remember? The part as a player with a smaller room and then as a coach room number 5 which was the room of all the coaches.
“Milanello is an important milestone in the life of Milan. Always distinguished by a family factor. The room was like sleeping in your home. It was something special and most of the victories were born there. I will always remember the Milanello building with affection and it is part of the great Milan. It is the highlight of the season and I wish AC Milan the best present and future successes.”
Then it was the turn of Pioli to speak…
“At Milanello there is a unique sense of belonging. There is a special serenity that puts you in a position to make everyone happy because we are a big family. A great coach said that the invisible team [backroom and coaching staff] is the most important
“Great things are built from the bottom up and we are very solid there. The first time I entered Milanello I was very excited and I felt at ease. At Milanello there is everything to put us in a position to work well. We innovated Milanello, now room five is much smaller.”
Full-back Davide Calabria also arrived at the event…
“You live in a magical place. Sharing that space with so many important people is a fantastic emotion. Firs time? Turning the curve and seeing the sign was thrilling. With Galliani I signed my first professional contract and I still have the pen that was given to me. Milanello is a magical place. There is that charm and atmosphere that stays inside you. You feel at home.”