"I’d never accept being used as merely a symbol"
AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has released a statement to explain why he turned down a role within the club's hierarchy.
The seven-time European Cup/Champions League winning Serie A giants are set to be taken over by a Chinese ownership group.
Maldini, who won a host of European and domestic titles with his hometown club in a career that saw him represent no other side, said financial issues were not at the heart of his decision.
"I pointed out that I’d give my all to a serious project, but I’d never accept being used as merely a symbol. I repeat, for me Milan is a choice of the heart," he said.
"I was offered the role of Technical Director, before that a sporting director would be hired with the faith of the CEO. Then, according to the organisational chart that was presented to me, I would discuss any project, purchase, or sale of a player with my sporting director.
"My specific question was what would happen if [the sporting director and I] disagreed, and [club CEO Marco] Fassone told me he would decide.
"I told him I didn't think that was the basis for a winning team. I've been part of teams which have made football history, and I know that to achieve results there has to be great synergy between all the corporate bodies and major investors, in addition to well-defined roles. The last few seasons where Milan have had joint-CEOs should have been a lesson."