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Past and Future



It is finally official, the dream of so many Milan fans for so long. Paolo Maldini has been appointed as Technical Director of AC Milan. Along with him, Zvonimir Boban has been appointed as Chief Football Officer. They are both a part of Milan’s storied past, winning so many trophies for the club. Most importantly, they know what it means to be Milan. To wear the shirt, represent the crest, and to bleed red and black. They are legends of Milan’s past, and now they are the hope of Milan’s future.

The future is bright

For so many of us fans, Maldini is Milan and Milan is Maldini. Second generation Milan, with his sons fulfilling a dynasty by growing up in Milan’s youth system. On the pitch, he was something of an oxymoron: an elegant defender. Off the pitch, he has always been an exemplary human being. A man of integrity and purpose, respected by friends and opponents alike.

There was one exception, of course: Adriano Galliani. He refused to let Maldini back into the club after he retired as a player. To this day, I will never understand why, other than the fact that Galliani would likely sleep with his own mother to get a player on a free transfer, and Maldini would always do what was right for Milan. Certainly, in 2007, Maldini pointed out that Milan had not renewed – all of the players were aging and the team needed an infusion of youth to remain competitive. He was right, and had Galliani followed his advice, the last 12 years would have been very different. Which is another reason why Maldini being in charge of the technical area of the club is so heartening.

A man of integrity and principles

Boban has always been a man of principle. When the Balkan wars were erupting in his native Yugoslavia, he was memorably photographed taking on riot police who were liberally beating his Croatian brothers and fans of his club. As a player, he was a fiercely talented number ten, playing ten memorable years for Milan and hoisting many trophies. After football, he pursued his education and got a degree in history, then mastered the art of sports journalism. As a pundit, analyst, and columnist, he always stayed true to himself and never shied away from unpopular opinions.

Perhaps it was these characteristics that FIFA saw in him when they appointed him Deputy Secretary General just three years ago. During that time, he worked tirelessly to bring about effective change to the game, working for the introduction of VAR as well as restructuring the World Cup. Always, he has shown a love for the game above all else, and always, he has been a man of principle.

No more free transfer souvenirs picked up on his Milan paid vacations

Both of these men are young to be taking on these new roles, and very inexperienced. At the age of 50, perhaps they represent the infusion of youth that was needed all along to modernize the club and make it financially successful again. Fans hope that they will also bring back beautiful football, and why not? Financial success is always more likely with football that people actually want to watch. Most likely, they will make mistakes. With the impending doom of FFP and the debts of men who were much older and should have been wiser, they have an uphill battle to climb. But these two men are both very intelligent and well-spoken, as well as being former players. And they have something none of those other men had: They are part of Milan’s past. And for that, we all have faith that they will become an integral part of Milan’s future.

This post inspired by the music of OK Go’s “Return”