Wednesday May 22 2019
'No friendship in Gattuso decision'

Paolo Maldini admits friendship will count for nothing when it comes to deciding Gennaro Gattuso’s fate as Milan Coach.

Maldini and Gattuso were Milan teammates during the 2000s, winning a Scudetto and two Champions Leagues together.

However, the legendary left-back is on the Rossoneri board that will run the rule over the Coach.

“I have to do my job and evaluate Gattuso, we’re not teammates anymore,” he told DAZN.

“You must have respect for the people you are working with. We are both here to help make this cu;b work in the best way it possibly can. Our views can be different, but our friendship helps us to overcome our differences.

“However, I will have to evaluate the job he has done in a cold and detached manner. We have different roles at the club, and we’re not teammates anymore.

“Director of sporting strategy and development at Milan is a job title that covers so many different areas.

“Leonardo has taken his role of executive to another level. He is more than a sporting director now and he asked me to accompany him on this adventure.

“The definition of our roles isn’t important. What matters is that we oversee the sporting department and do a good job.

“It is, for me, a beautiful challenge being here again, it fills me with emotions and great memories, my sporting life has always been linked to this club, to the city, so in a way, it’s as if I’ve come full circle.

“It seemed a natural thing for me to do, even if it took so many years for me to return.

“We’re working towards the future. It might take a while, but we’re planning on building a new stadium, maybe one that we will share with Inter, maybe not.

“It will be top-level arena and it’s something we will need a long-term project for.”

The club icon was then asked about how he coped with pressure and what was the best way to manage it.

“I had a little trick before the game with Juve in Manchester [the 2003 Champions League Final]. We returned to the Final after nine years and we had a lot of players that had never played in a Champions League Final.

“I pretended to be the calmest person in the world, and everyone was asking me, ‘hey Paolo, how can you be so calm?’

“I said, ‘oh it’s the ritual we have when playing in Finals.’ The truth was that I was burning inside, but I was able to manage that pressure.

“They were all so amazed I was able to sleep the night before the match; they didn’t realise that I had taken a sleeping pill! These are the type of little lies that give a team confidence.”

Finally, the 50-year-old talked about his sons, namely 17-year-old Daniel who has been making a name for himself with the Rossoneri’s Primavera team, scoring 10 goals from a left-wing position.

“Daniel is the first attacker of the Maldini dynasty, he is the only one with those attributes to be a playmaker, someone who sets up the goals.

“He’s ambidextrous like me and I see a lot of myself in him, especially in his character. Of course, it is also in the genetics, s people see in my sons what they used to see of my father in me.”