Maldini urges Milan to take Champions League chance as Rossoneri evoke past European glories
Paolo Maldini has urged Milan to make the most of their Champions League run after conjuring memories of the great Rossoneri sides he represented.
After last month’s 1-0 win at home to Tottenham, Wednesday’s goalless draw on the road was enough to help Milan into the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Milan endured a run of seven campaigns without Champions League football prior to returning to the competition last season – a far cry from the success of Maldini’s playing days.
The technical director, who helped Milan win five European crowns as a player, was delighted to see the Rossoneri’s current crop record a notable continental win of their own.
“You suffer more as a director, but your focus is different. When you’re older, you’re able to manage things better,” he told Milan’s media channels.
“I once again felt those goosebumps that were provided by the great Milan teams of the past, because it was a real achievement. I have to say that the lads deserved it.
“For some of them it was their first experience at this level, and the fans deserved it, who were there even in the bad times.
1 – #ACMilan have progressed a knockout stage of #ChampionsLeague without conceding in both legs for the first time since the last 16 round of 2006-07 against Celtic. Armor.#tottenhamvsmilan #UCL pic.twitter.com/uJyoWdfSXO
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 8, 2023
“Obviously, we can’t think that we’re a stable fixture in the last eight, that certainly isn’t the case yet.
“However, now that we’re here, we’ll go for it, because you need to take these opportunities when you get them.”
No Serie A team reached the Champions League quarter-finals last term, but with both Inter and Napoli ahead at the midway point of their respective last-16 ties against Porto and Eintracht Frankfurt, this season is shaping up to be more successful for Italian clubs.
Asked if he had any preference regarding Milan’s next opponents, Maldini said: “I’d prefer to avoid an Italian team, but if all three make it through, I’ll be happy for Italian football.
“At this point, we’ll get whoever we get. Right now, we can’t think that we’re at the level of Bayern Munich, Manchester City or Real Madrid – the current European champions.
“However, if we’re drawn with one of these teams, we’ll go for it.”
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