Former AC Milan goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach Nelson Dida has spoken about the abilities of Mike Maignan as well as his recent injury problems.
Maignan arrived at Milan from Lille in the summer of 2021 and had the tough task of replacing the outgoing Gianluigi Donnarumma who left to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, but he has done some fantastically and was a big part of the Scudetto win last season.
He was mentored for part of his time at Milan so far by Dida who came back as a coach before departing again last year, and the Brazilian has backed Maignan to come back stronger from the calf problem that has kept him out for some time now.
Interviewed on the Lega Serie A YouTube channel, Dida spoke about his first encounter with Maignan while he was a coach for the Rossoneri, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“It was the first sight of an impact that he, when he saw me, embraced me. He told me about his goals and he said to me: ‘Look Nelson, I knew you were here and then I wanted to win in Milan, because Milan is an important team all over the world and I want to be able to wear this shirt and win’. Those were his first words as soon as he saw me, so a character, an incredible personality,” he said.
On his qualities and improvements: “A lot of explosiveness, we had seen some of his saves when he played for Lille and he didn’t keep the ball so much. We worked a lot on this aspect, also on distribution, on co-ordination that rightly improved a lot. A technical aspect that has certainly contributed to its growth.”
On preparing for a match: “Mike is focused like me, in the sense that from the moment he arrives at San Siro, his mind is ready to enter the pitch and do everything possible. In the warm-up, he has his own particular time to concentrate, to know what atmosphere there is and the environment that surrounds him, so as to do the right things when you enter the pitch. He is someone with great reflexes and always gives 100%.”
On the double calf injury: “He’ll be even stronger. I spoke to him and his words were that. Now he has time to prepare well, so our little conversation was about that, about the two injuries he’s had. He can still improve and can still do a lot with the Milan shirt.”
On Milan: “They can conquer everything, a strong Milan full of committed players. Every player who wears the Milan shirt wants to, even the one that Pioli transmits: he is someone who gives everyone confidence. Milan are strong and want to always win.”