Football News

Why AC Milan have sacked technical director Paolo Maldini – and Rafael Leao is not happy

By Ben Green

Why AC Milan have sacked technical director Paolo Maldini copy

Published: 10:57, 6 June 2023

The San Siro has been rocked by emerging news that technical director Paolo Maldini and sporting director Ricky Massara have been sacked by AC Milan following crisis talks.

Maldini was reportedly told by club owner Gerry Cardinale that his services were no longer required in a boardroom meeting, as he intends to adopt a new recruitment strategy.

The Milan legend, alongside Massara — who was named sporting director of Milan in June 2019 — have been in charge of the club’s transfers and contract negotiations, but that burden has now been lifted from them by Cardinale as he seeks a different direction.

The news comes amid a power struggle behind the scenes, which came to light after Maldini hit out at the club’s infrastructure and planning following their defeat in the Champions League to eternal rivals Inter last month — lamenting a lack of squad depth.

“As we said last season, we are not yet built to handle two tournaments. We said that to the media, but also to the club owners, so they know that full well,” Maldini told Sport Mediaset following Milan’s European exit.

Tension has reportedly stemmed back to 2020 when Milan CEO Giorgio Furlani and former chief executive Ivan Gazidis attempted to appoint Ralf Rangnick as Milan’s new manager — a decision that didn’t sit well with Maldini, and led to Zvonimir Boban leaving his position as CFO.

“As I have never talked to Rangnick, I don’t understand on what basis his statements are made, also because I have never been told anything by the owner,” Maldini told news agency ANSA in 2020.

“Some consideration, in my opinion, must be made. The German director in fact, speaking of a role with full managerial powers in both the sports and the technical areas, invades the areas in which professionals work with regular contracts.

“So, I have some advice for him, before learning Italian, he should review the general concepts of respect, as there are colleagues who, despite the many difficulties of the moment, are trying to finish the season in a professional way, putting the good of Milan to their professional pride.”

The news of Maldini’s sacking has also reportedly not sat well with several players, chief among those is star forward Rafael Leao, who only recently put pen to paper on a new contract at the San Siro. He responded to the news with a thinking emoji in a social media post.

Maldini leaves his boyhood club having helped the Rossoneri win the Scudetto in 2021/22 and having overseen the recruitment of several key players, including Leao, Theo Hernandez and Fikayo Tomori.