Former midfielder Rui Costa has offered his support to former team-mates Stefano Pioli and Paolo Maldini for the job they are doing at AC Milan.
He was once Milan’s most expensive player, but now Rui Costa is forging a reputation as one of the best sporting directors in Europe as he continues to enrich the coffers of Benfica with some fantastic deals.
Just like in league action, he will be rooting against Rio Ave as his former club come to Portugal for a Europa League Play-Off knowing they are one game away from the group stages.
Rui Costa was interviewed by Milan TV before the game against Rio Ave in his native land, and his comments were transcribed by MilanNews.
On Milan: “I will continue all my life to have the pride of having worn the Rossoneri shirt. Stefano Pioli was a teammate of mine in Florence, I am happy for him, besides seeing Maldini working so well gives me great satisfaction.
“As a team-mate, it was clear that he had everything to make a great career as a coach. Paolo had to have an important role in world football, working for his team always brings you something more. they are doing, I’m happy for both, Milan is growing to go back to see him where we want, at the top, I hope to see him again in the Champions League next year.”
On the opposition Rio Ave: “For Rio Ave it is a historic day, too bad there are no fans to celebrate the event. Playing in Portugal is always very difficult, Milan are favourites but we cannot think that the match has already been won.
“There’s a lot of wind, they’re used to playing in these conditions, they’re used to this climate. We have to be careful because it’s a dry match, but we’re favorites.”
On the transfer market: “Paolo knows football and AC Milan perfectly, this is the most important thing. Good players are everywhere, you don’t just have to know how to catch them but know who can fit well into Milan. I’m not surprised at the work he’s doing. I am proud and happy for him. It is not easy for anyone to trade in the midst of the pandemic.”
On Ibrahimovic: “He continues to work miracles, it was a great move, both to take him in January and to confirm him this year.”
On Calhanoglu: “He is growing a lot, it seems to me a completely natural process, he had to be given time to grow, to learn not only Italian football. I hope he too can enter the history of Milan, I hope he can continue like this.”
On the fans and the shirt: “I have always given everything with pride and satisfaction for this shirt, I carry all the Milan fans in my heart.”