Former Manchester United and Milan goalkeeper Massimo Taibi previews tonight’s Europa League clash and says it was a ‘pleasure’ to train with the Red Devils in an exclusive interview with Football Italia.
Taibi, a former Milan and Manchester United goalkeeper, is now serving as Reggina's sporting director in Serie B.
"I began this career in 2011, in non-professional divisions before I moved to Modena. It's been 11 years now. I enjoy the job so much. I've always wanted to do this after the end of my playing career," he said in an exclusive interview with Football Italia.
Reggina signed German Denis and Jeremy Menez. How did you convince them?
"Telling them about the project and presenting the plans of an ambitious club. Our desire is to get promoted to Serie A in a few years."
You recently met Francesco Totti, who has his own agent company. How did you find him in his new role?
"We didn't speak about players. I met Francesco and [Giovanni] Demontis, who is one of the agents of his company. Francesco and I spoke about the past and today's football, not about deals or negotiations."
What game do you expect between Milan and Manchester United tonight?
"It will be an even and open game. Both sides will play attacking football. They have important players, unfortunately, there will be no fans in the stadiums, but we need to adapt to it."
Are Manchester United the favourites given Milan's injuries?
"No, I don't think so. It will be an even game. They have proved to cope well with absentees, but the same is true of Manchester United. The team that will make fewer mistakes will go through."
Milan and Manchester United have two of the world's best goalkeepers in David De Gea and Gigio Donnarumma. Who would he pick?
"They are two great keepers, but I prefer Donnarumma."
Do you think he will sign a new contract with Milan?
"Honestly, I don't know the state of negotiations, but I hope they'll reach an agreement. I know for sure Donnarumma is very attached to Milan.
“Maldini is doing a great job, but the market is not easy. Sometimes you don't get what you want. Negotiations can be long and anything can happen. I hope he will stay at Milan."
You played six months in Manchester and you were a teammate of Ole Gunnar Solsjaker too…
"Yes, the dressing room was amazing. True men and champions, they were always available to help. Ole was an important player and a very nice guy. They were impeccable in everything they did, on and off the pitch."
Do you remember anything special that happened in the dressing room?
"I remember the pace of the trainings. Everyone was running so much, the rhythm was incredible. It was a pleasure to train with them. The group was very united. We usually went out for dinner together. It was a unique experience.”
What did you learn in Manchester?
"Their culture. They trained so hard during the week to be in shape during the games. And the fans are impressive too. It was rare to see the fans criticise the team. They appreciated the games and they never complained about the referees. Even if match officials were not as good as the Italians, there was never a controversy, there was a different culture."