Maldini Day

We have been waiting for this day since May of 2009. The return of the living legend, Paolo Maldini, to the club of his family, the club of his life, and the club of his heart. There are so few one-club players anymore, but not only did he only ever play for Milan, his father played and coached for Milan, and in completing the Maldini Dynasty, his sons have both played for Milan’s youth teams. After being mistreated by disgusting and reprehensible Milan fans during his San Siro farewell, blocked from joining the club by the tyrant Galliani, and turning down offers to return by Yonghong Li’s initial investment group because he didn’t believe in their project, he is finally coming home. Happy Maldini Day!

Nine years later , his interrupted fairy tale begins again

There are only two Milan jersey numbers that have ever been retired: Franco Baresi’s number six, and Paolo Maldini’s number three. Even if Maldini’s number carries the caveat that it can be worn by his posterity, by birth alone, he is actually more Milan than the captain of all captains and his mentor and former teammate, Baresi. Maldini is also more Milan than the club itself these days, with Galliani’s “omnipotent” reign finally come to an end, and strangers having taken over the club for the past year.

Those strangers approached Maldini to bring him back into the club almost two years ago, but only offered him a figurehead role in a plan that he rejected because he believed it would fail. And he was right. Fans even then knew that we were heading for dangerous waters, because he provided us with a “Maldini Litmus Test.” Everyone knows that if he trusts a project and he is invited to be part of that project, then it will likely succeed. And the opposite is also true, if he turns down a chance to come home or is not offered a place in his home, then failure is around the corner.

Milan is his heritage

This is partly due to Milan being everything to him, partly because as a world class defender who won everything with the club, he knows both football and the club better than most people working in football. For example, in 2007, when Milan won our last Champions League title, he told Galliani that the club had not renewed. He saw what the old buzzard could not, that the squad was aging and had too many players on high wages, and offered his wisdom. For that and other reasons, Galliani shut him out after he retired. Whereas fans everywhere looked to Maldini as the reference point – he knew what the club needed and was never afraid to say it, regardless of consequences.

His incomparable integrity and fierce loyalty are a big part of why it has taken more than nine years for him to come back home. And yet that same willingness to speak his mind and offer help to his Rossoneri family is precisely what Milan needs most right now. With Elliott Management having taken over the club, we all feared it would be just a Plan B, not a solution. But when Maldini’s return was mentioned, it gave us hope once again in our beleaguered club. However when it became an official announcement yesterday that both he and the club had agreed to bring him back, that hope became a certainty, and millions of hearts worldwide began to heal again.

Legends on and off the pitch and now helping us rebuild

His new role was tailor-made for him. His title will be Sporting Strategy and Development Director. Which is perfect, since he saw the cliff of our development and renewal before Galliani did back in 2007. I absolutely trust that he is the right man to get us back on track and help build a glorious Milan once again. It will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but for the first time in years I can truly sleep better at night knowing that one of Milan’s most valiant knights ever is protecting the club again. He recently celebrated his 50th birthday, with a massive interview that reminded us all what we had been missing. So it’s amazing that he is finally returning and we can look to him for Milan’s future.

Fiercely defending Milan again

For once I am truly struggling to put into words my emotions on such a massive occasion for the club of my heart. So I will just leave you with the words of the President of the Board and Acting CEO of Milan right now, Paolo Scaroni, who deserves the credit for making this incredible day happen:

"There are few words to describe what Paolo Maldini represents for AC Milan. It was a privilege watching him as a player, winning countless trophies on the pitch, and I am excited and honoured to be working with him today in this new role. Paolo’s leadership and experience will benefit the Club greatly, as will his passion and energy. Today’s appointment is yet another sign of Elliott’s commitment to build a strong foundation for long-term success. It will not be easy and it will take time, but we have ambitious objectives, and Paolo’s appointment is an important step toward returning AC Milan to where it belongs".

Milan is safe again. Happy Maldini Day.

This post inspired by the music of “Inno Milan”

Our next match is
the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan
Saturday, August 11 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Maldini Day Maldini Day Reviewed by Elaine on 11:42 PM Rating: 5
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