Boban: “We don’t have the magic wand, Pioli isn’t a second choice, Maldini and I are trying to get the club back on top”

Zvonimir Boban before Udinese- Milan at Stadio Friuli on August 25, 2019. (

Zvonimir Boban has stated that ‘Maldini and I will try to do a good job and if we do not success then maybe someone better than us will come’, and claimed that there has not really been a discussion yet about the January market.

Yesterday in Trento, the Festival dello Sport event took place to celebrate the Milan of Arrigo Sacchi, the one that won the 1989 Champions League final 4-0 against Steaua Bucureşti at Camp Nou.

That reality is very, very far from what Milan are going through at the moment. It has been six years since the club took part in the UCL and since 2014, there have been eight coaches in charge of the team, the latest is Stefano Pioli who arrived this week as a replacement for the sacked Marco Giampaolo.

“Milan of 1989 is a unique phenomenon, I can’t even imagine coming to those successes as a director. But to see a more important and competitive Milan – yes, I can hope for that,” Milan Chief Football Officer, Zvonimir Boban, said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport during yesterday’s event.

“Sacchi changed the history of football and that Milan is also the beginning of my history. I saw all those Champions in even shape even now. My Milan was a bit different, but we won a lot. We were more pragmatic, clinical, and logical as well. But the charm of that team remains unique.

Zvonimir Boban during a Milan game on July 28, 1997. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“I was asked by someone during the event ‘what are you doing at Milan’? And I replied ‘I am wondering too’, but it was a joke. I work to make Milan great again, I have been here for a short time and we have to work hard from all points of view. We should do better and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen. We must fight, we must all work together. That’s what we do.

“We don’t have the magic wand. Paolo Maldini and I are trying to help the club get back on top with our footballing skills. Until now it hasn’t gone so well, but there’s room for improvement. We’re at the beginning, there’s time to make up for it. There is a business madness that infuriates: we no longer talk about the game. How do you get results if it’s missing…?

“What prompted us to sack Giampaolo and choose Pioli? It was the best solution on the market. Pioli is not a second choice. There was also an attempt with Spalletti? We were evaluating two situations. Spalletti is a great coach but this doesn’t mean that Pioli is second choice, and indeed he is not. Pioli is a strong man, he has good football ideas and he has taken over [mid-season] many times, doing well. We went from a ‘dreamer coach’ to a ‘normalizer’? I wouldn’t say ‘normalizer’. He’s a pragmatist, also for this reason he is able to take teams during the season and reach good results. Now he is studying the players.

Zvonimir Boban and Marco Giampaolo during training at Milanello. (

“If it was just a question of gaming systems with Giampaolo? The important thing is that the system works, but if it doesn’t work then what should be done…? Changing the coach was a defeat for everyone. When something is not right, everyone is guilty: directors, coaches, players… I’m very sorry for Giampaolo. After arriving at Milanello I told Marco that I was hoping to leave Milano with him, and I did the same with Paolo, with whom I share the office every day. It didn’t work and I’m sorry. We separated in a normal way, with elegance I would say. He’s a very good person. These things happen in the world of football. Giampaolo is good, but we have chosen to change all together for the good of Milan. We looked at the product: the field decides and in fact it has decided.

“Where do we start from? From an experienced coach who will do his evaluations. Many players will grow. Some say that we wanted to impose the line-up on Giampaolo? That’s nonsense. Discussing and having different opinions is normal. But Maldini and I have never tried to do things like that. The respect for the roles is sacred. It is also said that Maldini and I had different visions about Giampaolo? Oh please…

Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini taking a picture with a fan before Udinese- Milan at Stadio Friuli on August 25, 2019. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

“It appears that the club is ready to invest in reinforcements in January? We haven’t really talked about this. It’s not the time, when it is then we’ll do the evaluations with the coach and we’ll see. If I think that there was an excess of criticism towards me? No every day is the best day, football is like that and everyone can say what they want. Neither Paolo nor I have ever escaped from responsibility, and we won’t do it now either. We will try to do a good job and if we do not success then maybe someone better than us will come.

“What do I expect from the fans in the home game against Lecce after the break? Fans have the right to protest and to express their discontent in civil terms. But we are fans too, we will work to make them happier.”

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