Paolo Maldini has now spoken out over his sacking as the director of AC Milan in June. He, alongside sporting director Ricky Massara, were relieved of their duties after getting the team to the semi finals of the Champions League, and helped them earn £60 million during the season, which exceeded the expectations set for them.
But in spite of their success, they were forced out and Maldini has now commented that the reasons for letting them go were ‘weak’, when speaking to La Repubblica.
Paolo Maldini speaks out on Milan sacking 5 months later
‘Cardinale told me and [Ricky] Massara (Milan’s former sporting director) that we were fired,’ Maldini said to the Italian outlet, per The Athletic.
‘I asked him why and he told me I had a bad relationship with [the CEO Giorgio] Furlani. So I said: ‘Did I ever call you to complain about him?’ I never did.
‘In a year I had only one chat with him [Cardinale] and got four messages. He said we should trust each other. I trusted him. We all know how that went.’
He added: ‘I believe that the decision to fire Massara and me had been made many months before. And in hindsight I am forced to reconsider the relationship with some people who worked with me and who certainly, I find it difficult to imagine otherwise, were already aware of that decision.’
Paolo Maldini also urged the current owners to take care of things, with the Rossoneri only recently coming back from their massive slump in the 2010s.
‘I said it that same day, before my leave: today you are in charge, but please respect Milan’s history.’
‘There are people that just pass through institutions like Milan that don’t have a real respect for their identity and history. They don’t work towards giving a vision to the new generation of fans. Often they are just managerial figures that come to work in a prestigious big, popular club just to make their CV look better and then go somewhere else,’ Paolo Maldini hit back at the upper management.
‘On the other hand, there are people who have these things in their heart, are in for the long term and are tied to the clubs ideals that throughout history have been taught to many people on and off the pitch. Unfortunately, in modern football, the population of the first type of person keeps growing. I believe you have to keep hold of whoever has those ideals and makes it their work to save a club’s values and identity’
He also spoke about where he could go next as a technical director. Maldini has recently been linked with Manchester United, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to make significant changes behind the scenes. And he admitted that any new opportunities would likely take him beyond Italy.
‘For my job, the alternatives to Milan are very limited. I could never go to another Italian team, possibly I would only evaluate the offer of a high-level foreign team. I like winning and building. [Saudi] Arabia could be a stimulating option, who knows.’