Paolo Maldini again hints he won’t be part of Milan’s future, they ‘cannot win just with young players’ and does not regret calling Ralf Rangnick talks ‘disrespectful.’
There was a touching embrace on the touchline during the warm-up against Napoli, as Maldini met with former teammate Gennaro Gattuso.
“It’s strange meeting Gattuso as an opponent, but at times your paths do go different ways. Nobody can ever cancel what there was between Rino and Milan,” the director told Sky Sport Italia.
Gattuso left, what of Maldini’s future and appeals from the Milan fans for him to stay with the club?
“This has been going for a while. We want to reach the end of the season in the best possible way, so in order to do that we must avoid this sort of talk and then the time will come when decisions will be made.”
Has the club hierarchy informed Maldini of their plans?
“Even if they had, I wouldn’t say so. We must give stability to the team now. I was confident we’d get good results with coach Stefano Pioli and that was confirmed.
“I am very proud, as I watch 90 per cent of the training sessions, so I knew this squad was destined to flourish. The lockdown allowed Pioli to have the kind of intensive training he didn’t have time for before.
“Many new players have done well, like Ante Rebic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ismael Bennacer… If I have to pick one player who impressed me the most, it’d be Franck Kessie. He has become a complete player and working in a two-man midfield has really made a difference.
“I am sure we have the strong foundations for the future Milan team. The decisions on who will be part of the future Milan will be made by others and perhaps by myself too.
“At times we forget the age of these players, as we have a lot of youngsters. We pushed hard to bring in two more experienced players like Ibra and Simon Kjaer so we could help them to grow. If I didn’t have Franco Baresi and Mauro Tassotti by my side when I was starting out, I wouldn’t have done what I did in my career, because I didn’t feel confident.
“There is no such thing as a team that wins only with young players. The past matters, wearing that jersey is a responsibility and a weight, so that history is difficult to carry for young players unaccustomed to this pressure.”
The talks with Ralf Rangnick continue and reports suggest a deal is done, so does Maldini regret saying it was ‘disrespectful’ towards Pioli in February?
“I would repeat it. The phrase wasn’t against any particular person, it was more about the methods being used.”
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