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Old 13-10-2018, 23:24   #5825
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Fav. Players: Maldini, Gullit, Van Basten, Rijkaard, Baggio, Nesta, Rui Costa, Kaka, R9, Dinho, TS33, Romagnoli

“The night of Istanbul [2005 Champions League final]? Perhaps along with the 1994 World Cup Final lost to Brazil on penalties – that was the worst moment of my career. Football gives and it takes away, but at the end you have to accept the result, especially when you’ve given your all.

“If you watch it back, it’s not true that we sat back on 3-0, as we still had plenty of chances at 3-3 too. The mood of a team can change on a tiny incident. If you are strong and have the mentality, you can overcome certain situations, and fortunately we did that. Managing emotions in the CL final? At the age of 20 it’s harder to manage it, you go to the field and play. And when you get over 30, you know that you manage it differently but you want to win because you think it will be the last time.

“My strongest opponents? Maradona was something else. I faced Platini who was a great Champion, but Maradona was Maradona. After him I’ll say Ronaldo of Inter, he knew how to do everything. And, I can name an Italian, I’d say Totti, although our challenges were linked only to domestic competitions.

“Messi or Ronaldo? I don’t want to take anything away from Cristiano because he is phenomenal but I say Messi. He is the essence of football, also for how he behaves on the pitch when he is beaten, and he doesn’t complain much. In the past 15 years, Messi has been the absolute strongest.

“The Invincible Milan [1991/92 season]? Once you get to the record you want to keep it for as long as possible. Then you also think about winning the league but that objective helps you a lot.

“The goodbye from San Siro? The behavior of a player who is not consistent with the rules makes more noise than that of a 100 that do something good. I remember that day. I remain convinced of being a good person. The stadium was whistling but it wasn’t clear for what. I’m happy it happened, like I’m happy with the tribute of the Artemio Franchi in Firenze [on his last game ever].

“The national team? I said no to the call-up in 2006 and they won [the World Cup]. It was destiny, I guess. I still had a wonderful time, but the game I’d really like to play again would be against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. I never got angry with referees, but that day it was frankly impossible not to. I let out the worst in me, helped also by the Spanish I had learned from my wife.

“How was my first time in Japan? It was terrible, the time zone, the very strange training sessions, it was cold… we won the first two [Intercontinental Cups, beating Atlético Nacional in 1989 and Olimpia in 1990] and then we faced big teams like São Paulo and Vélez Sársfield [lost to both in 1993 and 1994 respectively]. Finally, we got revenge against Boca Juniors [in 2003], closing the circle.

“How the contact to bring me back to Milan was made? I was on vacation, I was working for the ICC summer tournament. Leonardo called me and he told me that he’d been contacted by the club for his current position. At first he just told me on his role and then he called me the next day saying: ‘Listen, but what about you, what do you think?’ We talked about it for 10 days and then he asked me if I wanted to come back with him, we found the deal in 48 hours.

“What does being ‘Sporting Strategy and Development Director’ mean? Leo and I share the sporting area, and it’s a lot: it’s not just about managing the team, the players, coaches, buying and selling, it’s also about giving a certain line, a sense of belonging to the club.

“What do my days look like? I go to the office at Casa Milan in the morning, I share it with Leonardo. I arrived at the worst moment of the mercato and I was immediately overwhelmed by a world that in itself has nothing to do with the football played. Then fortunately the league started and we had more time to breathe and rest, having the opportunity to meet the team.

“Based on our experience, we try to return to those principles. At Milan, you must have clear in your mind that it’s essential to win trophies. Our objective now is to get back to being competitive in Europe as soon as possible. We have a three-year contract, so it’s not much time, but we’ll try.

“It was important for us to feel that there was a strong club by our side as players, so it must be the same for the current group. They are youngsters and the continuous dialogue remains of fundamental importance. I won’t deny that it’s tough to talk about Champions League qualification, considering recent results, but we are convinced we can do it. That is our main target.

“Lucas Paquetá? The mercato is closed [laughs]. He is talented, he is not 100% developed but he is a player who can make us dream. My love for tennis? It’s different. In tennis you have to be there at all times, it’s a challenge and it’s the challenges that I like. My knees are never happy, but I am.

“The upcoming derby? In the last few years it has been great, it will be a derby between competitive teams that will play for something important, as they’re both aiming high. A leap in quality in the standings? We have to remain close to the Top 4. We faced Napoli and Roma. We still have to manage the critical phase of the games and we’re working on it.

“The Europa League? The trend has changed, last year the Italian clubs did very well there. We’re talking about a competition that gives you direct access to the Champions League, and that is stimulating. We will respect it and play it at the maximum, also because we haven’t never won it.”

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