Maldini discusses the new stadium, Donnarumma’s departure and his future

Paolo Maldini

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini believes that the two Milanese clubs need to leave the San Siro in order to return to the top.

The two clubs are set to move to a new stadium, known as the Cathedral, which will be built by stadium experts Populous, leaving their historic San Siro home in the coming years.

Speaking in an interview with Sette, Maldini first discussed the increasingly likely move from the San Siro, saying “I believe and hope that it may be so. It makes an impression, I realise that. Me too. My father played there, I played there, my son plays there. It’s been my home. If we’re talking about memories, who more than me could feel hurt by such a momentous change?

“If we want Milan and Inter to return to the top levels of European football, writing such beautiful pages as those of the San Siro, we can only have a new stadium. There are no alternatives. This is not an opinion, it’s a certainty. I don’t want to erase a wonderful past. It’s just that I like to look ahead. It’s the idea of my life.”

He touched on the strongest memory of his playing career. “Apart from how it went, my last game, the one with Roma. It was a real game that counted for a lot and we lost. I lived it on an emotional rollercoaster, even as I approached the match.”

The former Rossoneri defender commented on the protests from the Milan ultras during his last game for the club, as well as how he felt after leaving.

“It was a minority, who always make more noise than the masses. I was not part of that world. I tried to live my profession by giving my all, demanding respect, and accepting defeat, which is very difficult because you suffer so much. I have been myself.

“And if you like, also thanks to those whistles, I left leaving a not exactly trivial signal. I felt I was ready to say goodbye, even if immediately afterwards, while I was on my first August holiday in thirty years, I heard the news on the radio that Milan were starting their training camp and I had a strange feeling.

“If they’re there, how come I’m here by the sea? That year I went back to the stadium for the derby and for the last time in my life I felt the feeling that has defined my life as a footballer. A mixture of excitement, fear and euphoria, which always gripped you in the stomach before taking to the pitch. A kind of natural drug. Perhaps the thing I missed the most.”

Maldini discussed his return to Milan as a director, highlighting that “At the beginning, every night I came home and told my wife that it was a disaster. I kept saying to Leonardo, who wanted me to join him, that I felt useless. I didn’t understand the administrative side of the job, I wondered what I was doing there. I must feel like a protagonist.”

He touched on his reaction once Leonardo told him that he wanted to return to Paris Saint-Germain.

“What are you saying Leo, was my answer. With my eyes out. I felt lost. But honestly, right afterwards I also had the feeling of being at ease for the first time.

“I was back in a situation where I had no one to shield me. What I had always been looking for. I am very grateful to Leonardo, my apprenticeship with him was fundamental. We speak often.”

The Milan technical director gave his thoughts on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who joined PSG on a free transfer after his contract expired with the Rossoneri in the summer.

“Gigio is a great person, full of emotions. I believe that in an ideal world the only real motivation of a footballer should be passion. But if your goal is to obtain social redemption and money to give to your family, who tightened their belts for you in your childhood years, well, those are also motivations.

“To be understood and respected. To achieve certain results and a certain stature as a player, sporting motivations are fundamental. It can happen that the needs of a player do not match those of a club. There are those who can wait, and those who are in a hurry. It’s not for me to judge certain choices.”

Finally, Maldini discussed his future and any plans he has.

“As for this job, either I do it with AC Milan or I don’t do it. Maybe abroad, but honestly I should think about it. I’m happy to have had this opportunity.

“Because I know that if I hadn’t done it, I would have always regretted not having tried. That’s another reason why I’m not afraid of the future.”

3 Comments on “Maldini discusses the new stadium, Donnarumma’s departure and his future”

Leave a Reply