There is not rift at board level at AC Milan currently, at least according to the club’s CEO Ivan Gazidis.
Speculation is rife in the media about disagreements between the former Arsenal chief and directors Paolo Maldini and Zvonomir Boban, in particular with regards to transfer dealings and the club’s next head coach.
Gazidis spoke to the microphones of La Gazzetta dello Sport touching on various topics including his relationship with Maldini and Boban and the rumours about Ralf Rangnick.
“Two souls in Milan? It is not true, it is not true, it is not true. There is only one common vision: to have a modern Milan, which competes at the top of Italian and European football, which plays in future in the largest stadium in the world, with a clear football philosophy to achieve success on the pitch,” he said (via MilanNews).
“Milan are one of the biggest football clubs, but everyone knows that past years have been difficult. Huge losses. Since Elliott took over we are one of the companies that has invested the most in the world. But be careful: there is Financial Fair Play and, especially these days, we are seeing that it is serious.
“The boundaries within which to act are clear. Our goal on the sports side is to grow the team, but with a budget in line with the FFP. We never want more to suffer an exclusion from the cups. The challenges we have to face to get back to the top are manifold, we know we have to take one step at a time, even with inevitable mistakes along the way. No dream is impossible, but all dreams require commitment, effort and patience to come true.”
When asked if everything can change in a few days based on a win or a loss, Gazidis said: “It’s true. And this does not help to grow the system.
“The temptation is often to make short-term decisions, to take the longest step of the leg. It’s normal. Anyone who lives the club with passion has this temptation. I am no exception. After a defeat I don’t sleep. After a victory I have 5 minutes of relief, maybe.
“This is how I live this club, that’s how Paolo Maldini lives it, that’s how Zvone Boban lives it and that’s how everyone lives it, including our fans. But the danger of making decisions based on this leads you to lose sight of where you want to go and after two, three years you risk paying a dramatic price.”
Gazidis has been criticised by some for supposedly blocking certain deals in the January window and having a recruitment strategy based mainly on acquiring young talent.
“We must have a good mix of talented young players and experienced players who are still hungry for success, a winning mentality and know how to lead the group. Ibrahimovic has had a huge impact, since a technical point of view, of personality, of leadership.
“We have never rejected the idea of experienced and already high level players. But we also focus on who can become one with the AC Milan jersey. Isn’t Theo Hernandez a top player today? Isn’t Bennacer a potential top? There is a team of people trying to find the right balance, the players that allow the winning mix.”
There has been plenty of speculation in the media about the board being divide at present, with Gazidis wanting different things to Maldini and Boban. The South African was keen to put those ideas to bed.
“A top level team is fundamental to obtain results and we have it. We talk to Zvone and Paolo every day. We come back together, happy or sad, after every game. All we do is together. We all want the same thing.
“I believe that the decisions that are made through debate, discussion and different points of view are the best. Let’s not confuse confrontation with confrontation. It doesn’t count for me. Who’s in charge? Who’s the king? Nobody. The king is what we all work for. The king is Milan.”
Gazidis was also asked about Ralf Rangnick, the man who the German and French media believe has already signed a deal with the Rossoneri to take over as head coach and sporting director next season.
“I have been in football for 26 years, interacting with hundreds of different people including at least 20 coaches all over the world. It is normal,” he said.
“But nobody in Milan is thinking about a new manager now. Pioli arrived in a difficult situation, he behaved professionally in an exemplary way. His work has been of the highest level and now we are starting to see this team grow, develop.
“Being the Milan coach is a goal for many great coaches. But Pioli remains in pole position also for the future: the season is still open. It is too early to talk about it now. Rangnick? I never speak of members of other clubs, players, coaches, managers who are. It would not be right and correct to do so.”