AC Milan director Paolo Maldini has touched on some of the key differences between when he was playing versus now, speaking about some of the pressures that current players feel.
Maldini is widely and correctly regarded as one of the greatest defenders and players of all time, making 647 Serie A appearances in a career that saw him spend all 25 seasons with the Rossoneri before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009.
He won 26 trophies with Milan including the European Cup/UEFA Champions League five times, seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana titles, five European/UEFA Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Maldini spoke during an interview with M20 all about the challenges that the modern player faces and how different the sport is as a whole compared to when he was playing, with his comments relayed by Calciomercato.com.
“When I was playing there were no social networks, there were fewer photographers and fewer curious people, so there was much more freedom and you could live more normal. At 20 you also have to have fun, I had the desire and the strength to go out,” he said.
“I went out, but I have always been teetotal, I never smoked and I never took drugs. The person most worried was my dad Cesare, he had a ’60s mentality when to get out of the house you had to escape. I got to know my body along the way and I learned to manage myself, even making mistakes. I say: try, make mistakes, but learn. Every dad should do it with his children.
“When I saw Franco Baresi play he was the best , even in training he died rather than conceding a goal. He spoke little, but uttered many facts.”
Paolo Maldini has two sons currently playing football themselves. His eldest Christian is currently at Lecco in Serie C, while Daniel Maldini is on loan at Spezia from Milan.
“I was pleased to have footballer children, but then a lot of annoyance: the pressure of the soccer father, the eyes focused between the ages of 10 and 12 when you are still a child. All this attention has bothered me and especially them, the road was difficult to assert itself,” he said.
“When I retired from football at the age of 41 I lacked a bit of adrenaline. The first three months, with the derby at the start and after Barcelona… But then I got a reason and I lived a second life, doing mundane things I didn’t do before like having coffee with friends.
“I was in the United States and wanted to open a hotel, but then I changed my plans. I enjoyed spending time with my children, wife and friends that I had neglected. Instead this as a manager he is a third life, between the office and Milanello. I sit on the bench and watch the training, I talk to the coach and the players.”