Maldini on Pioli, the mercato and his wish for 2021: “We must not stop dreaming”

By Isak Möller -

Comparing Milan’s current position with the one they had last year, it’s clear how much they have improved in the last year. Paolo Maldini, along with his colleagues, has managed to create something really beautiful. 

Since January, the Rossoneri have lost just three games in all competitions and are yet to lose a game this season. As a result, they are at the top of the standings, one point ahead of city rivals Inter who were tipped as the Scudetto winners.

In other words, Stefano Pioli has done wonders with this team and he has the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer to thank for it. Above all, though, he needs to thank the men who brought the players there: the technical area.

Led by Maldini and Ricky Massara, the Rossoneri’s clear strategy on the market has paid off. In a long interview with Rai 2, as cited by MilanNews, Maldini was asked about the recent success and also the future plans of the club.

On being proud: “The team makes me happy with the way they play, their way of being, their courage, so these are all things we asked our players when they arrived and those we found when in August 2018 when I accepted this job.”

On the secret of change: “Believe in what you do and believe in the players, wait for them. This team is a team that needed to rebuild a base that, over the years, had changed and was unable to restart. The speech we made at the beginning, when we arrived, continued the following year and now, after 18 months, we can see the first results.”

On his return: “I didn’t think this was necessary for my life. I was 9 years away from football, not with the idea of ​​returning one day but with the idea that if it happened, I would enjoy it.”

On young players and their needs: “They must have the time to adapt. Not all clubs are the same and they give you the same stress and the same demand. Milan asks a lot of you and a young man who works elsewhere does not necessarily work here. It takes time.”

On Daniel: “He is still at home with me, I see him every day. Here at Milanello, we say goodbye in a normal way. A bit like it happened with me with my dad. Football is a democratic sport, he is at Milan because he deserves to be here.”

On the dynasty that continues: “It is something special. Both my dad and I had the good fortune to have so many successes. The wish for Daniel is to have similar successes.”

On Pioli: “I think he has many characteristics as a great coach, so there is a very open relationship, we tell each other everything. Also because it is the only way to be able to have results.”

On Leao’s record goal: “It’s something unique, but if you don’t try it, it will never happen.”

On working hard: “You have to work hard when you enter the Milanello gate, leave your thoughts out and focus exactly on what is required.”

On Arrigo Sacchi: “A year ago, I said that I still remember the nightmares of all the things he said to me and of the physical and mental work. 30 years later he sent me a message apologizing, but he led me to be a perfectionist.”

On Ibrahimovic: “He was angry because he was close to returning. Muscle problems concern everyone, especially in the COVID era and those who have had it have suffered not only from the disease, but also from close commitments.”

On the market: “There will be one, perhaps creative, perhaps looking for some opportunities but we will not completely change the team, which has shown to be competitive in 2020.”

On deputy Ibra: “We have Zlatan and many alternatives such as Leao, Rebic and Colombo. Daniel also played there. We have many young players we believe in, we kept our word, they played and we are first in the standings.”

A wish for 2021: “A return to normality is desirable. We must not stop dreaming. I’m a very practical, realistic one, but dreams sometimes make you go where you didn’t think you would go.”

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Tags AC Milan Paolo Maldini