Maldini: Modric would be 'perfect' but Milan did not bid for Madrid star

By Sports Desk July 19, 2019

Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan did not make an offer for Luka Modric this close season, although he admits the Real Madrid man would be "perfect" at San Siro.

Modric is expected to stay at Madrid, where he has been since 2012, but the 33-year-old was linked with moves to Inter last year and rivals Milan in recent months.

Maldini, acknowleding the midfielder's blend of experience and talent, says there was never any negotiation for the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.

"We never negotiated for Modric, but we've said to [coach Marco] Giampaolo this club are looking for good young players and some experienced ones," Rossoneri technical director Maldini told a news conference.

"The growth of young players takes place through the presence of experienced players. Modric would be perfect here, but we've never negotiated for him."

Maldini was speaking alongside Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez as they were presented as Milan players on Friday.

Hernandez, a left-back just as Maldini was in his playing days, was delighted to have joined Milan.

"It is a real honour to be sitting next to [Maldini]," Hernandez said. "He will always be the best full-back in the world.

"We met in Ibiza, where he had some very beautiful and sincere words for me. Since then, I have had the desire to join Milan. I trained hard to succeed and in the end I did it."

Related items

  • Mihajlovic takes charge of Bologna's Serie A opener amid leukaemia recovery Mihajlovic takes charge of Bologna's Serie A opener amid leukaemia recovery

    Sinisa Mihajlovic will preside over Bologna's Serie A opener on Sunday despite his ongoing recovery from leukaemia.

    Mihajlovic, 50, confirmed last month he had been diagnosed with cancer, but had no plans to step down from his position as coach.

    The club confirmed 10 days later that the first round of Mihajlovic's treatment went to plan, adding he was set for a further three weeks of visits "to monitor blood and clinical parameters".

    Mihajlovic missed Bologna's pre-season tour as a result and his appearance for the first match of the season at Verona was by no means a given.

    But the club confirmed on Sunday the former Yugoslavia international will be in charge.

  • Udinese 1-0 AC Milan: Giampaolo's side suffer opening game defeat Udinese 1-0 AC Milan: Giampaolo's side suffer opening game defeat

    Rodrigo Becao scored a second-half header as Udinese inflicted a 1-0 Serie A defeat on AC Milan in head coach Marco Giampaolo's first competitive game with the Rossoneri.

    Milan started without any of their new signings and looked devoid of attacking ideas for the majority of Sunday's match at Dacia Arena, where they fell to Becao's only goal of the game 72 minutes in.

    Giampaolo's visitors failed to register an attempt on target in Udine, and Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma had been the busier of the two goalkeepers before the breakthrough moment in a contest that contained few clear-cut opportunities.

    A first league defeat in five matches to Udinese means a losing start for Giampaolo, whose decision to omit each of his side's new signings backfired.

    Milan's Alessio Romagnoli flicked the ball wide from a promising position and Udinese's Kevin Lasagna miscued a shot into the stands following a poor clearance from Donnarumma in the only openings of a quiet first half.

    The biggest talking point before the interval came in stoppage time as Milan's Samu Castillejo appeared to deflect a cross with his arm, but VAR adjudged that the contact was made outside the box and no penalty was given.

    Udinese's Rolando Mandragora fired in the game's first shot on target with 49 minutes played and Seko Fofana was the next to test Donnarumma with a curled strike a couple of minutes later. 

    Donnarumma was becoming increasingly busy as he was also required to keep out Mato Jajalo's shot with an hour on the clock, and the pressure eventually told.

    A minute after being brought off the bench, Rodrigo De Paul sent in an outswinging corner and Becao guided his header into the bottom-right corner on his Serie A debut.

    Milan pressed for an equaliser, and were frustrated when a penalty appeal was rejected. The closest either side came to another goal was when Lasagna's shot was saved.


    What does it mean? New signings must be integrated

    Giampaolo revealed on the eve of the match he would only start the players available to him throughout the close season and as a result Milan had a familiar feel to them.

    With Ismael Bennacer, Rade Krunic, Leo Duarte and Franck Kessie named on the bench, the visitors looked stale throughout the match and must massively improve if they are to break back into the top four.


    Becao the difference

    For all the talk of Milan's signings, it was one of Udinese's new boys who made the difference. Signed from Brazilian side Bahia during the close season, centre-back Becao made the most of some slack defending to score the only goal of the game. 


    Borini sums up Milan's struggles

    Milan fired no shots on target in the first half of a Serie A match for the first time since October 2018. Fabio Borini did little to influence play and was unsurprisingly the first visiting player to be replaced with an hour played. 


    What's next?

    Milan welcome newly-promoted Brescia to San Siro next Saturday and Udinese host Parma the following day.

  • Icardi not causing a disturbance at Inter, says Conte Icardi not causing a disturbance at Inter, says Conte

    Mauro Icardi is not causing any issues for Inter coach Antonio Conte, who insists the unsettled striker's failure to secure a move away from San Siro has not hindered preparations for the new season.

    Inter handed Icardi the number seven shirt for the 2019-20 campaign in a move that indicated he is expected to remain at the club, where he was stripped of the captaincy last term.

    The 26-year-old was widely expected to leave in the close season and was linked with Juventus and Monaco.

    However, with Icardi still at Inter and the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, it appears Conte will be left with a player deemed surplus to requirements.

    Asked about the effect of Icardi's continued presence by the media, Conte said: "I have great respect for everyone, but I don't feel any disturbance.

    "We are working hard, we know full well what approach has been taken with the player, but it is not causing any disturbance for me."

    Inter open against Lecce at San Siro on Monday, with Conte making clear that the aim for his side is to close the gap on last season's top two, Juventus and Napoli.

    The Nerazzurri finished fourth, 10 points behind second-placed Napoli, but Conte believes Lukaku's arrival can boost their chances of improving this term.

    "Lukaku arrived full of enthusiasm," said Conte. "He is a very joyful guy to be around and the team immediately welcomed him into their hearts.

    "He was on the margins of the Manchester United squad for a while, so is not at 100 per cent, but has immense potential and can improve in every area.

    "I tried him out alongside Lautaro Martinez, Matteo Politano and Sebastiano Esposito, so I am pleased with the synergy that is forming between these players.

    "I always said that I wanted to feel even a one per cent chance of competing for victory. We are building something important here and I can say that the chase is on.

    "We aim to close the gap, which is pretty large, from the top two. I don't set limits, only time will tell what we are fighting for, but we've got to work even better than the rest if we want to achieve something extraordinary."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.