Saturday February 29 2020
Boban: 'Gazidis went behind our backs'

Director Zvonimir Boban confessed Ivan Gazidis went behind his back to contact Ralf Rangnick and he is demanding a crisis meeting with the club owners. “It’s disrespectful and not the Milan style.”

The situation at the club is increasingly tense, with reports of clashes in strategy between CEO Gazidis on one side, directors and former teammates Paolo Maldini and Boban on the other.

This issue has now apparently exploded with Boban essentially admitting Gazidis had talks with Ralf Rangnick to take over as coach and potentially also director of sport next season, without informing his colleagues.

“Until a few days ago, I thought it was true that there were not two souls within Milan, albeit taking into account all the thousand initial difficulties, cultural differences and very different passions for the Rossoneri cause,” Boban told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The fact we’re having to talk about this is not good for anyone. The worst part is that this destabilising event is happening during a moment when the team is improving and you can see Stefano Pioli’s hard work.

“Not even warning us was disrespectful and inelegant. It was not the Milan style. At least not what we remembered the Milan style as being.”

Boban was asked if there was no way of the current directors working together to make Milan great again, but his response suggested there is no way back with Gazidis.

“The way I see it, unity means sharing, unity means respect. At the end of the day, we need that approach, it is the only way to work and feel good.

“We’ve already talked to Gazidis. For the good of Milan, it is certainly necessary that a meeting with the ownership happens as soon as possible.”

The club is owned by Elliott Management Corporation, the US hedge fund that essentially repossessed AC Milan after previous President Yonghong Li defaulted on repaying a loan he had used to buy the team from Silvio Berlusconi.

“The owners must be clear both in terms of the budget and their objectives,” continued Boban. “In essence, we must respect the needs of the club to balance the books, while the owners must respect leaving the sporting results to those who represent the history and values of a great club.

“At this moment, despite the efforts we made in the January transfer window, making many cuts and sales to lower the wage bill, we still don’t know what margins we’ll be working with for the summer.

“We were asked to lower the average age of the squad and we did that, but always maintaining the need for the right mix between youth and experience. The January transfer window shows we were right, you can see how quickly the younger players improved with more senior figures by their side.”

Boban was asked when Milan will be able to at least compete to get back into the Champions League.

“First of all, we have to finish the season and see where we are, but it’s already a different Milan. We don’t say that we have to win next season, but we should be competitive and fight it out at least with everyone in Italy.

“We are well aware that we are not experiencing the Milan of our day, but there has to be some real ambition that makes you dream.”