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Watch: ‘Love for Milan’, says Maldini

Video: AFP

Paolo Maldini confirms his love for Milan is behind his return to the club as a director.

The legendary former defender turned down a role with the Rossoneri under the previous ownership, but it was confirmed yesterday that he has returned to the club at which he spent his entire career.

“I never said no before speaking to the club,” Maldini began by saying.

“I started discussions with Barbara Berlusconi, but nothing came of it. A year and a half ago I talked to Chinese owners, but we couldn’t define the role and I decided not to collaborate with them.

“Now the situation is different, I spoke with both Leonardo and Elliott, who explained the project to me.

“The role of Leonardo was fundamental. I’m a great friend of Leo’s. We’ll share this experience together as we did in the past. We have different roles, separate roles, but we’re friends and we’ll work together.

“We haven’t had much time since the change in ownership but I met the owners and everything came together very quickly.

“My character is the same as it was, although I have started talking a bit more! The role is very different but it’s important to have that sense of belonging with this squad, ownership and club. Everyone has to share that sense of belonging.

“I don’t have any experience as a director but I’ll be working with Leonardo and that will be very important. He knows his role, he knows the club. That’s what led me to say yes.

“I will be working with the first team, the youth teams, the market, the Coach… I’ll be doing a lot of things Leo does too. We’ll be working together, as good cop and bad cop!

“We’ll share responsibility for the entire sporting area.

“Every position comes with responsibility and I’m someone who feels a lot of responsibility, but there’s also the beauty of returning to an environment with this club.

“My father was captain of this club, my sons have played in the youth teams: I have a very strong link with this club.

“The foundation is my love for the club and for football. If I have a choice then I can only work for Milan or the national team. Other than that there’s my friendship with Leonardo, the project, and the objectives.

Maldini left the club when he retired nine years ago, so what has changed in the intervening years?

“Football always evolves, if you fail to understand that you stay behind. Anyone who is passionate about football knows things are constantly changing, that has to be understood and analysed.

“In terms of techniques and tactics, some things come back and some things are new, but I haven’t seen any major changes in that regard.

“The reason I was always calm and collected on the pitch was I was always at ease. Once I get used to this job it’ll be easy to adapt to a new role. I’m here to learn and give my best for the club. I don’t think I could have any better companions to share the start of my career as a director with.”

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