Thursday May 14 2020
Ivan the Terrible strikes again

Ralf Rangnick may well be the right man for Milan, but Livio Caferoglu writes Ivan Gazidis has gone in completely the wrong way about hiring him.

Not even a global health emergency could mellow the madness at Milan. Only last summer, Elliott Management backed Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini to return the club to greatness. Less than 12 months on and the pair are about to be consigned to the Rossoneri’s history books for the second time. Instead, a man with no official connections to the red half of San Siro has been allowed to call the shots, seemingly without informing his colleagues at the club.

The arrival of Ivan Gazidis as CEO back in December 2018 not only seemed to confirm Elliott’s commitment to Milan, but it was also supposed to signal a much-needed change of direction. Silvio Berlusconi’s running of the club was characterised by substantial spending and success until 2012, when those things were replaced by cost-cutting and chaos. Chinese businessman Yonghong Li took over in the summer of 2017, in a reign with none of the cost-cutting, but all the chaos.

The 55-year-old Gazidis was rightfully considered a safe pair of hands. He was Arsenal’s CEO for the past decade, overseeing their transition to the Emirates Stadium and the departure of long-serving coach Arsene Wenger, all while keeping the Gunners competitive on the pitch with Champions League qualifications and three FA Cups in four seasons. Before that, he was a key figure in the development of MLS, which culminated in David Beckham’s historic transfer to the LA Galaxy.

His move to Milan had been preceded by the returns of Maldini and Leonardo as directors, with the pair apparently given full control of club affairs, alongside coach and ex-teammate Gennaro Gattuso. But then the cracks began to emerge. In January 2019, Leo was busy trying to orchestrate moves for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cesc Fabregas. Elliott was initially in favour, backing the Brazilian in his belief that established players were needed to fast-track the Rossoneri’s revival.

That was until Gazidis vetoed both deals, preferring his sporting director pursued the younger Krzysztof Piatek and Lucas Paqueta. Five months later, unhappy with the lack of funds available to him, Leonardo left San Siro and Maldini was promoted to the newly-created role of technical director, flanked by Ricky Massara and former teammate Boban, who was hired as Chief Football Officer. The trio were tasked with lowering the age of Milan’s squad and their wage bill, all while ensuring progress on the pitch.

However, their choice of Marco Giampaolo as coach backfired and he was sacked just seven games into this season. Maldini and Boban turned to Stefano Pioli on a contract until 2021, yet Gazidis and Elliott had other ideas. While Pioli was turning around the side’s fortunes on the field, they were negotiating with Ralf Rangnick behind the scenes, planning to entrust total authority to the RB Leipzig chief over coaching and recruitment. Boban accused the CEO of stabbing him in the back, but he was sacked before he could walk.

“My interview was legally impeccable and it arrived after many questions and demands for clarification in-house went unanswered," Boban told Il Giornale in March. "They closed a deal with Rangnick in December. I can wish him all the luck in the world, but they have to at least tell me about this. I deserve to be informed of the initiative.”

Speculation began to swirl over Maldini’s position, given he had been blatantly undermined by Gazidis, but Milan preferred to stay silent on the topic of the legendary defender’s future. Instead, the Greek-South African executive offered Pioli his ‘full support’ without denying he had been talking to Rangnick, until the German openly confirmed there had been an approach from Milan before coronavirus became a pandemic. All of this, while he was still under contract with Leipzig.

Last week, Rangnick publicly declared he was ready to absorb the powers of not only Pioli, but also sporting director Massara and Maldini. It’s entirely understandable that Maldini had enough and vented his frustration at the “lack of respect” going on here, but he aimed it at the wrong man. Rangnick is at least being honest. He hasn’t been angling for the job, he was approached months ago and negotiations have never really stopped. The fact Pioli and even Maldini were unaware of that is not down to the German, but the blame lies squarely at the feet of Gazidis.

Milan, of course, are not in a minority when it comes to a lack of transparency with their coaches. Luciano Spalletti went through a similar ordeal during the second half of last season, when the Inter board publicly sided with the former Roma boss, yet were unashamedly offering millions to Antonio Conte in the background. Finally, the announcement came on May 31 that the Nerazzurri had appointed Conte - just one day after they sacked Spalletti.

I’ve already argued that Rangnick is the right man to take Milan forward, but his impending arrival didn’t have to be so destructive. Gazidis must be applauded for his efforts in trying to make the Diavolo more modern and self-sustainable, but at the same time he is actively ripping the heart out of the club, turning them into nothing more than another corporate machine. If this is how he treats legends, then what hope do the fans have?

Have your say...
Gazidis out - and that's no joke.
on the 20th May, 2020 at 10:12pm
Look on the bright side Vic. If things don’t work out you could join the rest of deluded idiots around here and just blame juve lol
on the 20th May, 2020 at 11:42am
That moment when.... you get so angry about your team becoming mediocre, you can’t form a sentence. Hahahaha
on the 20th May, 2020 at 11:40am

At least Anonymous can string a sentence together lol

"you, thats people usually do who has a pair."

Beautifully put, Viktor! You're a poet!
on the 19th May, 2020 at 11:25am

"Viktor the Clown strikes again with another fanboy logic"

State your name if you have anything to say you, thats people usually do who has a pair.
on the 19th May, 2020 at 9:46am
Viktor the Clown strikes again with another fanboy logic.
on the 18th May, 2020 at 8:03am
calm down VIKTOR lol

milan are a joke. get up to speed man lol
when was the last time they were run properly?
there are people in their 20s who can barely remember Milan being of any relevance in the champs league.
did u know that?
on the 17th May, 2020 at 10:57am

Do you even know what SJW ?? How has statement anything to do with supporting Social Justice? I find it fascinating when people trow around words, without actually knowing the meaning or better yet, how to use it in a sentence correctly.

No actual reason might have been an understatement however, but a colossal joke is an overstatement. Period.
on the 16th May, 2020 at 1:16pm
What Berlusconi did with Milan reminds me of what u did with my first Nintendo. I was very excited about my new toy when I now got it, but as I got older I got fed up with it and gave it away to my Chinese friend. Everything is true about my experience with my Nintendo except the part about giving it to my Chinese friend. I actually gave it to my friend from st Vincent and the grenadines lolol but you get my point.
on the 15th May, 2020 at 10:59pm
its like Disney INC. bought MILAN and are just sucking the club dry just for their profit on the merch. Milan keep going in circles splash insane amounts of money the club generated by winning trophies and the being 1 of best Italian footy clubs in the world.
i kinda agree with some comments that the club is being run into the ground... like a runaway train. from the business standpoint, bizarre how they keep stumbling hirings-firings trades. must be like walking on eggshells working there.
on the 15th May, 2020 at 7:41pm

milan have been a washed up mess for ages lol. time u got up to speed and stopped pretending otherwise.
has any club ever been run this badly for so long? can u name one?
can you?
on the 15th May, 2020 at 2:10pm

Quit with the SJW rhetoric, would you?

Every time someone has anything negative to say about this farce of a club, you lose your mind.

"No actual reason"? - The reason is the article, Viktor, try to keep up. It's about how badly run Milan are. Simple enough.

What exactly is "the fork"? And how will you show me?

Not that showing me will mean anything - I actually want Milan to be the way they once were, not the embarrassment they are now.

Not what you wanted to hear, but anyway...
on the 15th May, 2020 at 1:54pm

The world is on the brink of financial collapse yet you take the time to directly spit venom on Milan for no actual real reason. They had and have a dip for the last 8 years, big f whoop. Passion runs through life, mark my words, they will be back and I will be the first person showing you the fork. Pathetic
on the 15th May, 2020 at 12:09pm
Youth team policy. Sure there could be a chance, but history told, no winning team on 4 top leagues are based on young team. We, milan fans, can expect another banter era for 5 years or at least until they kick that Gazidis out and drop that policy. We'll be a top supermarket at most.
on the 15th May, 2020 at 9:21am
cmon...does anyone really believe MILAN is gonna turn it around again next season? they are permanently prone to mediocrity and failure in terms of scudetto and or CL. they take 2 steps back for every 3 steps foward. they signed Piatek when he was white hot. started off on fire but that quickly died hes gone. just like the loooong list of other recent great players hit limbo at MILAN.
on the 15th May, 2020 at 1:40am
What a colossal joke of a club Milan have turned into.

They used to be run so well for spells in the past, but have been a mess for a long, long time now.
on the 15th May, 2020 at 1:15am
at least Ivan is consistent he managed to alienate the majority of arsenal fans whilst there now he has done the same with milan. if his plan fails he is finished at milan.

How much of arsenal successes or failures are down to ivan is questionable he might have been the man who setup a scouting system which signed the likes of gnabry, bennacar, iwobi, bellerin, malen or he could be the man who run arsenal in disaster.

should give a chance because it might benefit milan it is business.
on the 14th May, 2020 at 8:16pm
Let's not be disillusioned here. Elliott is running things here for profit. They have no outspoken passion for this club. They are running a business, for profit. Gazidis is not a life long supporter of Milan either - he is a front man. He too is a businessman, not a club fan. So lets take emotions out of all this until Milan is sold to somebody with hopefully more love for the club. Until then, these are strictly business transactions/operations. PERIOD.
on the 14th May, 2020 at 5:04pm
Gattuso should never have been sacked and Maldini should be given whatever power he wants at the club. We don't need Rangnick and we certainly don't need Gazidis.
on the 14th May, 2020 at 4:48pm
So basically what you are sayin is, milan is the new arsenal ? Lol
on the 14th May, 2020 at 2:52pm
A marketing executive who made a lucrative deal with Beckham for the MLS, all of a sudden is worthy of running one of the most respected clubs in Italy, and in the world? This clown's track record at Arsenal? LMFAO, when was the last time Arsenal even qualified for the UCL, let alone is considered a top club in the past decade?

Whether Rangnick is suitable or not comes much later, but Milan definitely deserve to be handled by a much better CEO - and this is from a Juventus fan.

Viva Calcio!
on the 14th May, 2020 at 11:33am
Just look at Liverpool, they won nothing for 3 years under Klopp but they stuck with it because he had a plan that was slowly showing signs of fruition and now look at them
on the 14th May, 2020 at 10:35am
I agree with the comments. Milan, and the Italian mentality in general need a revolution. I don't particularly like Gazidis but if he can help Milan and Inter build a brand new stadium then he will leave the club in a better position than he took over in no matter what happens on the pitch. Just look at how much it benefited Juve. Rangnick has a proper philosophy so at least he will have a set plan rather than randomly buying players and changing manager every 6 months
on the 14th May, 2020 at 10:34am
The way it's been done hasn't been good but as you say, all clubs are at it. Anyone who thought Pioli was anything more than a stop gap were deluded. He was never going to be here long term. Ripping the heart out of the club? Let's put Inzaghi or Brocchi back in charge and struggle to finish 10th for the next 5 years. We need a fresh approach, not just tinkering around the edges and that's what Rangnick will bring.
on the 14th May, 2020 at 8:41am
The thing about ‘tradition’ and all that is once Milan start winning again in a new, modern stadium the traditionalists will soon forget about the old San Siro and players from the past. Of course it’s a risk - as it may not happen - but trusting Gazidis to achieve that is what the owners have done. So they have to ‘go for it’.
on the 14th May, 2020 at 8:31am
"The 55-year-old Gazidis was rightfully considered a safe pair of hands. He was Arsenal’s CEO for the past decade..."

Didn't he run that club completely into the ground? Arsenal played the Champions League Final in 2006 and was one of the top clubs in England. He came to power in 2008 and the club's results took a nosedive.

I don't know why anyone had any hope when Milan hired him. What's next? They're going to hire Ed Woodward and say he was the ex CEO of a great team like Manchester United?
on the 14th May, 2020 at 8:14am

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