Sunday February 28 2021
Maldini on Tomori, Romagnoli and Zlatan

Paolo Maldini admits Milan are considering whether to buy Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea, Alessio Romagnoli is ‘not happy’ at being dropped against Roma and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is heading into a ‘strange’ week.

It kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

Inevitably, the first question was about Fikayo Tomori getting the nod ahead of Alessio Romagnoli. The Chelsea-owned defender, who has a €25m option to buy, said he couldn’t resist joining Milan when Maldini called him personally.

“Fortunately, I work for a club that has an effect on players. When AC Milan call, they players always listen,” Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.

“Fikayo is a player with particular characteristics, pace and intensity, so we thought he could be a good reinforcement for this second half of the season.

“Naturally, Romagnoli isn’t happy, no player is when he doesn’t play. However, Milan are 17 points better off than last season, we’re second despite having more commitments and many injuries, so squad rotation is necessary and Alessio has played pretty much every game.”

The Rossoneri are running out of steam lately, losing more games in 2021 than throughout all of 2020, and scraping through to the Europa League Round of 16 against Red Star Belgrade.

“I don’t see what more we can ask from this team. The growth from last season has been exponential, we know that we are not Bayern Munich or Manchester City at this moment, but we are much better than we expected to be at this stage of the campaign.

“The energy levels have changed, because that’s natural after 17 months of pretty much non-stop football. It’s physiological.”

Ibrahimovic has caused controversy with his commitment to be a nightly guest at the Sanremo Music Festival next week, despite there being a midweek round in Serie A.

“Regardless of Sanremo, everyone has always expected a great game from Ibrahimovic in any situation. It’s a strange week, we won’t deny that, but he won’t let himself be influenced by that.

“I know he is a great professional. We delayed the extension of the contract last year, which was our fault because there was a certain situation in the club, and when he signed the new deal, he told us that he had these commitments during this period.

“We have no doubts he will manage to do all of these things in his life like the great professional that he is.”

Maldini was probed on the on-going contract negotiations for Hakan Calhanoglu and Gianluigi Donnarumma, as well as reports Milan will buy Tomori outright from Chelsea.

“We have an option to buy for Tomori, it’s up to us to evaluate whether we activate it or not. As for the players whose contracts are running down, we include Zlatan as well, and we have weekly discussions about that too. All I can say is there isn’t much news to tell you.”