Maldini discusses importance of potential semi-final and whether top four aim is being ignored

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan director Paolo Maldini has spoken about the emotion that tonight’s game against Napoli and what he expects from a hostile home atmosphere.

Milan go into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against their domestic rivals hoping to make their one-goal advantage from the fixture at San Siro count, with Ismael Bennacer getting the only goal in the first leg.

However, it will be a hostile atmosphere at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona tonight against a team which were heavily tipped to go through when the tie was made given they are so far ahead in the league.

Maldini spoke to Mediaset Infinity before the game to try and assess what looks like being a very difficult night from Milan where they will be asked to dig deep, with MilanNews relaying his comments.

“The emotions are beautiful ones, real ones. After not having lived up to our history for so many years, now we are here,” he said.

What was last night like?

“Noisy, Naples is a noisy city. They are just details. We are ready for anything.”

How are the team?

“I think they are well. In the Champions League we haven’t conceded a goal in five games. A very difficult match in the first leg, then it ended well. The motivational aspect will be fundamental and we need to test it because for many it’s the first time.”

What would you say to Theo Hernandez?

“Theo is a boy of incredible quality, he often needs to be stimulated. In these matches, the stimulus comes naturally, these are the easiest matches for him to face.”

Leao was smiling before the game…

“It’s an individual thing. Serenity must be part of a team that faces an important commitment like this. Then everyone shows his emotions in his own way. Leao smiles every time he scores and I’ve never seen that in any other player. He doesn’t take things lightly, he’s just like that.”

He also spoke to Sky Italia as well.

What emotions do you feel?

“There are the personal emotions that bind me to this stadium, the first championship and the challenges with Maradona… There are also those as a director, we play for the semi-final. It’s a source of great pride.”

Is reaching the semi-final important for the club’s future, including economically?

“It is clear that this is the case, there is the economic part which is very important. Then there’s the sporting part… Entering the top four after 16 years of not being there is raising your level. These matches are used to test the level of the players, for many it is the first time.”

Do you talk less now?

“Let’s say that as a manager I often speak personally with players in difficulty or facing a game like this. I didn’t talk much, I observed a lot. We have players like Leao and Theo, for example, who sometimes need to be stimulated, in this case there’s no need, thank God.”

There is the risk of not finishing in the top four in Serie A. What is more important?

“First of all, finishing in the top four in Europe means having a chance in the final and winning it. All of us who have been there know that these trains pass and you have to take them because they don’t always come back.

“Of course, from an economic and sporting growth point of view, being able to reach the top four in Serie A is essential. We’re here right now but once we’ve played this match we won’t be able to do as we did in the league, we have to be more concrete and more Milan with teams that maybe can stimulate in a different way than these challenges.”

Milan are also in a semi-final in the Youth League…

“It’s a huge achievement. There too we struggle a little in the league but it’s an incredible achievement. We will be there with Ricky Massara and we hope to qualify for the final.”

Tags AC Milan Paolo Maldini


  1. Awesome referring till this point. Imagine this being a Serie A game, Napoli would have got a penalty as well as a goal which was followed by the handball.

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