CorSera: Cardinale pitched new role to Maldini before sacking him – the background

By Oliver Fisher -

More news is filtering by the hour regarding the exit of Paolo Maldini and what happened in the days leading up to the decision.

According to Corriere della Sera (via PianetaMilan), Maldini and Gerry Cardinale had a brief meeting on Monday in which the two did not really enter into the merits of the issues that led over time to the separation.

Cardinale had already made the decision not to continue with Maldini as technical director because they had mentalities and ideas that were simply too different, so during the meeting he simply gave him notice that he was no longer needed.

However, the paper adds that the RedBird founder offered Maldini a different role. He pitched the idea that he would no longer be technical director in charge of  transfers, but rather a consultant.

However, knowing Maldini’s story and his refusal to accept roles that weren’t prominent, it was presumable that he would have rejected the hypothesis immediately.

There was the search yesterday for a way to agree a mutual separation and to sign off a shared statement, but they did not succeed as it was evidently too strong a break.

Maldini’s responsibilities at Milan will be ‘assigned to an integrated working group that will work in close contact with the first team coach, reporting directly to the managing director’.

This working group, with coach Stefano Pioli at the centre, includes chief scout Geoffrey Moncada and ‘Moneyball’ man Billy Beane, plus CEO Giorgio Furlani. They will make and approve the choices.

It will now be a committee, a collective decision-making process that was in force before the last season before Maldini asked for and obtained autonomy.

Fans are confused as they saw Maldini as the guarantor of the project, but in order for it to be successful everyone must be pulling in the same direction and the two philosophies were too distant not to take different paths.

Maldini’s demand for full decision-making power is considered ‘old-fashioned’ by Cardinale who, on the contrary, demands ‘sharing’ of choices. The mistake might have been the renewal a year ago, but the change of ownership in progress discouraged the idea of a full overhaul back then.

However, a testing year reached boiling point when Maldini publicly called for the club to invest. Cardinale meanwhile does not think that whoever spends the most wins, but whoever does it better. These are irreconcilable ways of working, and it led to a split.

Tags AC Milan Paolo Maldini Ricky Massara


  1. To be honest… It does sound sensible that the coach is one of the guys choosing who to buy. Too bad Maldini didn’t accept the new role since it would have been the best solution for the club and the players. Too bad Maldini’s ego couldn’t stand it. Understandably so but still… The club is bigger than any player – or manager. Always has been, always will be.

    1. Your points are valid mate, yet you have to understand that this is not about Maldini’s ego. Typically, people just don’t accept a lesser role after having experienced a higher position, not because their ego is too big, but because power dynamics just don’t work that way. Apple and Jobs, right?

    2. This has nothing to do with Maldini’s ego, if he had the resources to be the CEO, he would buy the club over and run it to success. To assume that Maldini makes market decisions without Pioli’s inputs is completely false, they are just cooking up all these stories for damage control. Maldini wants Milan to succeed again but the management are only interested in an Arsenal/Atalanta business model. Buy them young, once they excel, sell for huge profits. The rebuilding process will never end because you are constantly selling. Maldini knows this approach can’t win you anything and if is he to get involved, he wants to be able to produce results or leave the scene completely for the management to run the club as they see fit. He is a serial winner and knows what it takes to win. If he believed in their approach, Donnarumma, Kessie and Hakan wouldn’t have left for free, they would have been sold for huge profits. He on he other hand wants to keep his leading players together to form the core of the team. Leao, Theo and Maignan, Bernacer, Tonali will all be sold pretty soon. I doubt they will want to stay where they can win nothing. They all have ambitions to be winners someday

      1. “This has nothing to do with Maldini’s ego, if he had the resources to be the CEO, he would buy the club over and run it to success.”

        Sure it does. If he thought about what’s best for the club (and especially the players) he wouldn’t have left. He wanted more power – not less and that can be put on his ego. There’s no getting around it. I don’t blame him and I still think he’s the GOAT LB. And did OK as a director too. But here we are.

      1. I’ll just copy-paste this: “Too bad Maldini’s ego couldn’t stand it. Understandably so but still… ”

        Yes. He was thinking about himself and not the club. The club would have benefited from his presence but he decided to leave because he wanted more power – not less.

        Like I said. It’s understandable. And if it were me, I would have continued because of the players and to be still able to affect the club’s future. But that’s just me. 🙂

          1. I want the players to be happy and the club to be “tempting” to new players. Maldini on board would help a lot.

        1. @ bb you are so right. If many can remove the ego and spontaneous reaction to Maldini being let go, they’d see the clearer picture.

  2. Eventhough I love Maldini as a Legend, I feel he doesn’t carry everyone along when making his decisions. Moving forward with the new philosophy am sure we will be very successful as everyone involved in decision makings will be on same page

    1. Did Maldini not gone for the players man city Benfica Chelsea and Liverpool later bought? Origi came as a free agent and if you guys is blaming him on CDK relax that guy will flourish very soon. Leao was like that when he came

  3. I hope Maldini can rebuild a relationship with Milan. He has a strong ego, but I think he can work with Milan again with time. The consultant role isn’t a bad idea in my opinion. It would have been nice to see that.
    On the other hand, Redbird HAS to face the fans, provide results, and respect Milan’s position in world football. We can’t become a Dortmund of Italy.

  4. I dont blame him he doesnt want to just be a figure head because that is basically just giving them justification when he clearly wants to do an actual job for the club.

  5. I think the new direction sounds promising. The thing is that as Milan fans, we all love Maldini and we have our emotions mixed in with all of this. Had it been almost anybody else, we wouldn’t have cared, at least not in the same way.
    Sure, you have to spend to make it big, but I also like the idea of making sure to balance the books well and the coach being more involved.

    1. The thing is that the squad should be built around the club’s history not around the coach and Maldini is the history of the club not Pioli or Moncada or some group of people who has nothing to do with the history of Milan.

  6. So prior to last summer, Maldini had to consult with others on transfers, and since last summer he had full autonomy.
    It’s nteresting that since he got the full autonomy, we end up with one of the worst transfer windows ever.

      1. I think that if you say that often enough, along with the Enzo Fernandez narrative that he already signed with benfica before maldini knew the budget, people might actually start to believe you.

          1. The job of the scout is to recommend players, the job of the sporting director is to make the final decision on which players to sign based on the team needs.
            The buck stops with Maldini. That’s the responsibility of a man in charge of a sporting department.
            Moncada recommends probably 100 players. But at the end Maldini decides which players to be signed.
            I know you want to spin it like it wasn’t Maldini’s fault.
            But he fought and received full autonomy in the transfer dealings.
            “With great power, comes great responsibility”
            Plus CDK was a great talent, who was just signed for the wrong position. He didnt play as a 10 at Brugge

          2. @Wiraq: that’s just one example, here is another:

            @Z: I stand corrected, as I said, Moncada was the one who recommend. Never claim he make the last decision. Giving recommendation is giving consultation, even consultant don’t make final choice.

          3. @Yelnats24
            You seem to be really bad at reading articles.

            “the management convinced by the idea of investing in him after Geoffrey Moncada’s positive scouting reports on him.”
            This part was said by a SempreMilan reporter and the link in the text is the same article you just gave lol

          4. That article linked to the previous one, my bad.

            But still the information was widely available as that article become source of other articles in different sites including other languages.

          5. This one does not link to sempremilan article:


          6. “socialmediasoccer*com”

            Wow! This is very trustworthy!
            This article is just an assumption, and it only introduces Moncada’s background, though lol

          7. I suggest you stop because what you are doing right now is just nitpicking for a word (widely).

            That CDK come from Moncada’s scouting appear in this site 3 times (the other one is in scouting report of CDK by sempremilan). Perhaps you don’t realize but sempremilan is one of the most prominent english language site reporting Milan. What was reported here becomes widely reported around the world as a lot of foreign-speaking media use sempremilan as source

          8. This site is just an English translation of an Italian article, and the site in Italian rarely comments on the article.

          9. Yes, this is why a lot of foreign media use this site as source, because it is already translated into English.

  7. I think most of you don’t really understand what Maldini wants and fighting for. I strongly believe that it’s not about him and Maldini has been a milanista from birth, so he knows what it takes to be a Milanist. This redbird guys just want to turn Milan to a business venture where they develop players, sell and make profits not being interested in winning trophies or competing with the big guys out there. We can’t just watch our dear Milan turn to Dortmund, Benfica or Ajax where players are developed for other big european clubs. The redbirds can never be more Milan than Maldini, so I support Maldini 100%. I just pray the decision doesn’t bring the team down cos I see some players who joined us cos of Maldini’s pedigree and influence leaving very very soon. It’s just sad that our dear Milan fell in the hands of wrong owners who are just business minded and not glory minded.

    1. “We can’t just watch our dear Milan turn to Dortmund, Benfica or Ajax where players are developed for other big european clubs.”

      Well… We can either watch or buy the club from RedBird. I’d prefer the 2nd option but I for one lack the funds to do that.

    2. What proof you have that we will sell our big name player? In the past some of you here say that we will become like arsenal under gazidiz as CEO ,selling player for profit but in the end until gazidiz out we never sell our important or key player. The only thing happen are we losing our key player for free not selling them for capital gain

  8. How can u say spending money is not important in the world of football
    35m pounds for transfer budget
    Who does that

  9. Damage control, its all about investing in the squad, Redbird should settle a loan and make profits for its shareholders, remember cardinale is just managing other people’s money, and those people came with their money not because they love ac milan, but because they were promised profits, damage control, the real redbird project is here now

  10. 35 million plus money from player sales is super enough for maldini if we’re to be sincere, it’s very easy sell the deadwoods and get fresh players that are hunger. I don’t hate maldini but his ego is becoming too much. You can’t always decide for the owner what you want, consultancy role is a very good one imo

    1. giving a 4year hard work in the hands of Fcukin useless guys who don’t know anything about football, myself would never agree even i don’t have as much in-depth relation to Maldini with Milan.

      Here the ego of Maldini is not important but the hard work of everyone in the last 4years.
      Now we have some very good player’s to reach the top level with just some more additions.
      With the way Maldini is handled, We will no longer have same harmony

  11. Ok now I’m thoroughly confused and don’t believe any of this “news”. I want to see what both of them have to say

  12. Does anyone think that the following was good business?:

    Neymar to PSG for a total cost of €489,228,117 (including salary and bonuses)
    Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea for €121M
    Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for €145M
    Joao Felix to Atlético Madrid for €126
    Jack Grealish to Man City for €117M
    Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea for €115M

    You can even add Mbappe to this list for €180M (even though I think he is a great player, but what has PSG won?)

    I think the ones below are much better transfers in terms of ROI, and this is what Cardinale wants to see more of, not the type of transfers above OR the CDK and the Origi ones:

    Leao to Milan for €30M now worth €80M (with a clause of €175M)
    Theo to Milan for €20M now worth €60M
    Ibra to Inter for €24.8M then sold for €70M
    Kalulu to Milan for €0.5M now worth €35M

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