logo

Paolo Maldini recalls his Old Trafford memories ahead of Man-Utd clash

Thu 11 March 2021 | 19:00

The Serie A legend talked about his time as a Rossoneri player and their trips to Old Trafford as AC Milan prepare for their Europa League encounter with the Red Devils.

Paolo Maldini recalled his conversations with Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of

AC Milan

’s first Europa League Round of 16 encounter with

Manchester United

admitting that it is

“always a wonderful feeling”

to return to Old Trafford.

Maldini, who won the Champions League title at Old Trafford back in 2003, told

Sky Sport Italia

:<em>

“We do not live of memories alone, but seeing those images and coming back into this stadium is always a wonderful feeling.”

“All the lads tonight, despite being young, have a very clear idea of what Milan represented in Italy and Europe. Even just when they walk into San Siro or the Milanello training ground with those photographs on the wall make them realize what it means to represent Milan and they feel that responsibility even more on nights like this.”

This season saw a difficult European competition for many Serie A clubs including

Juventus

, who were recently dropped from the Champions League race by

FC Porto

.

“We were up there with Sir Alex Ferguson just now and it does feel a bit strange for both clubs to meet in the Europa League,” added Maldini.

“However, it is an opportunity for growth for Milan, one of confirmation for Manchester United. We are in different situations, as they have the kind of revenue that provides more security for the future of the club and we are battling to reach that point.”

Talking about Ferguson and his brain haemorrhage recovery, Maldini continued:

“It’s always a pleasure to see Ferguson, especially as he seems well after that terrible health scare. I always remember when he asked my Dad if I was ready to come to Manchester after he came here to watch a game at Old Trafford and we laugh talking about my father’s response, which was not polite!”

The Rossoneri legend further commented on the difficulty of their task against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, saying:

“It’s a tough game, Manchester United are one of the toughest opponents in the tournament, and we come into it with many absentees.”

“It is also a test of maturity, because these lads need to face these challenges in order to truly become great. We are in a phase of evolution, both in Italy and Europe, so it’s a big test.”

“It’s a pity we can’t play it with more of the squad at our disposal, but we never felt sorry for ourselves so far this season and the response on the pitch has always been excellent.”

Rafael Leao is expected to start as a central-striker for AC Milan, since he’s the only forward currently available for the

Serie A

side.

“He has always played somewhere between the two, which is probably the problem. He played as a centre-forward, but starting a bit from the left,”

Maldini said.

“In our tactical system, his best games were probably starting from the left. We forget how young he is, he was born in 1999, so it takes time for him to grow. At clubs like Milan, the time is often limited.”

Among other AC Milan players, who are expected to be among the team’s starting XI, is

Franck Kessie

.

“Franck’s growth has been exponential, not just for what he does on the pitch, but also his guidance to the lads and leadership. Along with Ibra, he is the player who helps them the most, which is why we call him The President.”

Concluding about

Fikayo Tomori

taking

Alessio Romagnoli

’s place for the night to the latter’s injury, Maldini said:

“Tomori has different characteristics to the other defenders in the squad and we try to make the most of that pace, especially against a side like Manchester United who focus so much on pace.”

Follow

Sportmob

for the

latest football news


source: SportMob