Paolo Maldini has claimed that he fought against the original plans to build a new stadium for AC Milan that would be well below the capacity of the current San Siro.
Maldini did an interview with La Repubblica in which he broke his silence on his Milan exit and discussed a number of different topics from his conversations with the management to his attempts to sign Lionel Messi.
One of the things that he was asked about was the future new home of Milan and the capacity issue in particular, given that initially the plan seemed to be to cap it at a 60,000-seater stadium despite the fact the team have regularly been getting over 10,000 more than that at San Siro.
When Maldini was at the helm it also seemed that the Rossoneri ownership had decided to forge ahead with a ‘new San Siro’ plan together with rivals Inter. However, that has been shelved due to various bureaucratic and political delays with Milan now seemingly heading for San Donato and Inter to Rozzano.
“It was a cause for conflict. I couldn’t put my face on a project with 55 to 60,000 seats, almost all corporate and with very few popular tickets. I couldn’t leave such a legacy to the new Milan generations. I couldn’t support this plan.
“I fought to make it clear that we needed a bigger stadium with some seats accessible to all. The average of over 70,000 spectators at San Siro last season proves that I was right. A new, modern San Siro and welcoming is fundamental.
“The idea that the new stadium provides €80m more to invest on the market needs to be reevaluated, as demonstrated by last season’s numbers. When I talked about the potential and uniqueness that Milan has compared to other clubs, I probably caused laughter.
“But I know it’s like this. If there was the possibility, and the mayor is absolutely responsible for this, I would build the stadium at San Siro, perhaps again with Inter. After five years, not only is there no the first brick, but we don’t even know where the stadium will be built.
“It doesn’t seem like a great success to me. The new San Siro would also be a great opportunity for the revaluation of the area, it’s green intended for the citizens of an area of Milan that risks abandonment.
“Over the last 10 years, Milan have once again become a driving force in Europe because we have overcome old mental barriers. We must be afraid of degradation, not of the future. The current San Siro is iconic, but let’s realize that it was the great champions who played there who made it so.
“It’s still fantastic from a sporting point of view, but we need a new story, the past is the past, Milan have always looked to the future.”