Milan, Gazidis ‘I hired Maldini three times, Pioli and Rangnick…’

epa07244892 Milan's chairman Paolo Scaroni (L) and Ceo Ivan Gazidis before the Italian serie A soccer match between Ac Milan and Acf Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, 22 December 2018. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis says he ‘hired Paolo Maldini three times’ and reveals what he told Stefano Pioli when the Rossoneri were about to appoint Ralf Rangnick in 2020.

Gazidis released a lengthy interview with RepubblicaAffari&Finanza, explaining how the Serie A champions have developed since he arrived at the club in 2018.

“When I arrived, there was no Milan app: digitalization and content production are very important to keep together a community that starts in Italy and ends in Australia,” he said.

“When I arrived two-thirds of the trading partners were Italian, today two-thirds are international. The value of business partnerships has multiplied. All revenues are invested in the club. It is a virtuous circle.”

RedBird will complete the club’s takeover from Elliott in September, but this doesn’t mean Rossoneri fans should expect more investments and big signings in the near future.

“RedBird has great skills in the sports business and a high international reputation. The message they have conveyed to us is the will to continue on the path of our virtuous management,” said Gazidis.

“Elliott has great confidence in the value and expertise that Redbird can bring to the club, with the shared goal of bringing Milan back to the top of European football. Seller and buyer said that the closing is scheduled by September and I do not see elements such as changing the timing.”

Milan are also working with Inter on building a new stadium for the two clubs. Why aren’t they planning to build their own stadium rather than share it with their city rivals?

“It is the dream of many fans, but you have to deal with the reality of a prohibitive investment for the financial balance of a single club,” Gazidis admitted.

“I am optimistic that the final project of a modern stadium, capable of welcoming families, women, and children and generating new revenues, will be approved.”

Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara, who are in charge of the sporting side of the Milan project, have built the team that won the Scudetto last season. So, why did it take so long for the club to extend their contracts in June?

“I don’t think words are needed to describe the cultural and managerial value that Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara – in particular the combination of the two – have brought to Milan,” the ex-Arsenal director admitted.

“I hired Paolo Maldini not once or two times. I did it three times, including the last renewal on which I expressed a favourable opinion to the new owners.”

Massara and Maldini called Pioli in October 2019 to replace Marco Giampaolo, but his stay at the club was supposed to be short-term as the Rossoneri and Gazidis had an agreement in place with Rangnick.

“Pioli has a great understanding of modern football, great human qualities, and a total focus on work, without complaint or controversy.

“I told Pioli: ‘There will be a thousand rumours and speculations, but what happens at the end of the season depends on your performances. Pioli listened to me, the results arrived and his confirmation came naturally.”

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