AC Milan held a press conference for Paolo Maldini after he was appointed as their new Strategic Development Director of the sports area. Here’s what the 50-year-old had to say. 

On returning to Milan just now: “I’ve never said no before without talking to those involved. I held negotiations with Berlusconi’s Milan, and I spoke to the Chinese owners. However, we weren’t able to define a role for me, that was the reason I decided not to join. Now, it’s different, Leonardo called me and explained the project, so did the owners. I believe in this project. I’m firmly confident that their plan will work. 

On Leonardo: “Leonardo was fundamental. He’s a great friend of mine and this time, we’ll have separate roles. However, we’ll of course work together. 

On his approach to the role, compared to as a player: “My character is the same, although I have started talking a bit more over time. The role is different, but it’s important to have a sense of belonging to the club.”

On the project: “The project and the role are connected. The role was important for me to say yes, I don’t have any experience as a director but I’ll be working with Leonardo, who knows his job and the club very well. Working alongside with him will be important.”

On his role: “I will be working with the first team, youth team, the market and the coaches. We’ll [him and Leonardo] be working as good/bad cop together. 

On the responsibility: “Of course, I feel it, every role comes with it. However, there’s also the beauty of returning to the club, as Leonardo said, my father was captain here and my sons have played in the youth teams. My relationship with the club is very strong.”

How football has changed: “Football always evolves, you need to understand that to succeed. Some things, of course, come back from the past in terms of tactics and so on.”

On the club’s objectives: “First of all, we need to stay within FFP. We’ll have time to talk about strategies later. The owners want to keep hold of the cub from a medium to long term. I’ve talked to Gattuso, we’ll meet each other soon. We certainly need to improve the team. We’ll know more about the market in the coming days.”

On what convinced him: “Well, the foundation is my love for the club. I can only work for Milan or the national team, the friendships and the project here is why I accepted the offer. I’m here to learn and give my best for the club.”

On the Curva Sud: “My relationship with the fans is fantastic, I think the incident with Curva Sud stayed there and then. I believe I’ll be judged on my work, just as I was as a player.”

What he missed since retiring: “I had a very long career, so when I decided to end it, it was simply a new chapter. I missed the dressing room and the feeling before the games.”

On Caldara-Romagnoli: “They are the most promising young defenders, they are our future. I’m most curious about seeing Cutrone, he’s made a big impression. I followed him during his time with the youth teams.”

On the youth sector: “Things can always be improved although it has done well. Who will take care of it? We’ve haven’t had time to deal with this issue yet.”

If he can help Donnarumma: “Gigio can from the youth sector, he’s been under a lot of pressure. The objective is to help these players and to help settle their relationships with the entire environment.”

On Gattuso: “He’s never calm, he doesn’t know what that means. There have never been any doubts about him staying here, he’s an important foundation.”

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