Dalot explains how Maldini’s influence during Milan spell helped him improve

By Oliver Fisher -

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has revealed that Paolo Maldini had a profound impact on his development while he was on loan at AC Milan.

Dalot signed for United from Porto but he did not get much playing time early in his career at Old Trafford, and thus was sent out on loan to Milan for the 2020-21 season.

The Portuguese full-back made 33 appearances, with Stefano Pioli finding his versatility very useful given that he played both on the right and the left side of the back four, and even a bit further upfield on occasion.

It would be fair to say that it was a successful loan spell for Dalot because he has since established himself as one of the starters under Erik ten Hag and he could win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award this season.

Dalot spoke during an interview with FourFourTwo and he reflected on the time that he spent with the Rossoneri, picking out the impact of Maldini as being just what he needed at that point in his career.

“I played loads of minutes, which I needed, as I’d not played regularly for almost a year and a half. Culturally it was important, too – to play in another league and learn a new language. Milan is a cool city, but because of COVID, most things were closed,” he said.

“He’s [Maldini] a cool guy and his presence as a director was good for us. He was close to the players, but knew his boundaries. He wouldn’t step into the manager’s decisions and contradict him, but he’d say, ‘You’re playing well but you could do this better’.

“Sometimes it wasn’t just technical advice, but mental messages, like, ‘Be more patient’ or ‘Try to focus on this situation’. When I arrived, he spoke to me in English, but I asked him to speak to me in Italian as I improved.”

Tags AC Milan Diogo Dalot


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