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."

Andriy Shevchenko has backed fellow legends Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban to put AC Milan "back where it used to be" after they were given key roles at the club.

Former Rossoneri captain Maldini was appointed technical director in June while Boban, who won four Serie A titles and the Champions League during his spell at Milan, is now their chief football officer.

Shevchenko, who played alongside Maldini and Boban at San Siro, is confident the pair can help turn Milan's fortunes around after a disappointing 2018-19 season in which the club finished fifth in Serie A, missing out on a place in the Champions League.

"Maldini and Boban will guarantee that the club mentality does not change," Shevchenko told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"They will do well. Paolo is growing as a manager.

"The expectations are high, but I believe that Paolo and 'Zvone' will bring Milan back where they used to be."

Marco Giampaolo was appointed head coach in June and Shevchenko has been impressed by the former Sampdoria and Empoli boss.

"He seems like a guy with strong ideas, like these managers [Maldini and Boban]," said Shevchenko.

"Giampaolo is a coach who can achieve great results through play. He gives the impression he is prepared: I believe it was a good choice."

Shevchenko also has high hopes for striker Krzysztof Piatek, who scored nine goals in 18 Serie A appearances for the club in the second half of last season.

Piatek is set to wear the iconic number nine shirt, following on from such names as Filippo Inzaghi, Marco van Basten and George Weah, and Shevchenko said the Poland international is a worthy successor.

"The way he entered Milan, the naturalness, the important goals he scored, it was a great impact and now it is right that Kris also takes responsibility for such an important shirt," said Shevchenko.

"It's not just about wearing certain shirts. Milan's story itself is both beautiful and difficult to wear on the skin.

"This is demonstrated by the attachment of the fans: in recent times the results have not been the same, yet I have seen that at Milanello for the first day of training there were thousands of people."

Empoli midfielder Rade Krunic has joined AC Milan, the Rossoneri have confirmed.

Milan announced on Monday that Krunic has signed a five-year contract with the club.

Krunic made 33 Serie A appearances last term, scoring five goals, to earn his move.

Milan are reported to have paid €8million for the 25-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international, with the deal including further clauses.

Krunic becomes Milan's second major signing of the transfer window ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Rossoneri snapped up full-back Theo Hernandez from Real Madrid for a reported €20million.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, however, continues to be linked with a move away from San Siro.

The Italy international, 20, is reportedly a target for Paris Saint-Germain after Gianluigi Buffon's departure.

But technical director Paolo Maldini dismissed suggestions Milan are considering selling Donnarumma.

"The idea we have right now is to keep Donnarumma for a very long time," he told reporters. "At this moment, that is our position."

Gianluigi Buffon is back at Juventus following a year away with Paris Saint-Germain, returning to the club where he established himself as a modern great.

He previously spent 17 years with the Old Lady before his brief spell at PSG, winning a host of titles and enjoying sustained excellence.

Such has been the 41-year-old's longevity, the former Parma prodigy has rubbed shoulders with the very best in world football throughout his time, forming part of World Cup, Ligue 1 and Serie A-winning sides.

With Buffon securing another big move, we have compiled a star-studded group of former team-mates for a dream XI.

GOALKEEPER: GIANLUIGI BUFFON

Who else has the pedigree to don the gloves in such a side?

A five-time member of the UEFA Team of the Year, he boasts more Serie A clean sheets than any other player and, as captain of his country from 2010 until November 2017, would have no trouble bringing this team together.

 

RIGHT-BACK: LILIAN THURAM

Having been joined by Buffon at Parma after his switch from Monaco in 1996, Thuram followed his team-mate in making the move to Turin ahead of the 2001-02 campaign.

The 142-time France international, part of the side that tasted glory at the 1998 World Cup on home soil and won Euro 2000, spent five seasons at Juve before rounding out his career with a spell at Barcelona.

 

CENTRE-BACK: FABIO CANNAVARO

Buffon's inheritance of the Italy armband from Cannavaro in 2010 completed the striking symmetry of their careers.

They both made their Parma debuts in 1995, did the same for Italy in 1997 and were reunited at club level when Cannavaro, one of few defenders to win the Ballon d'Or, joined Juve in 2004. They also lifted the Jules Rimet trophy together in 2006.

 

CENTRE-BACK: ALESSANDRO NESTA

A long-time rival at club level, Nesta was part of the famous Milan defence that beat Juve in the 2002-03 Champions League final – he scored his penalty against Buffon in a 3-2 shoot-out victory – and triumphed again four seasons later.

He was named in the Team of the Tournament at Euro 2000, which Buffon missed through injury, but the 2006 World Cup success will undoubtedly be the highlight of his career.

 

LEFT-BACK: PAOLO MALDINI

With admirable longevity, loyalty and leadership, classy defender Maldini set the path that Buffon has so impressively followed.

The long-time Rossoneri skipper, a seven-time Scudetto winner who also lifted the European Cup on five occasions, is the only player to have managed more Serie A appearances than the veteran Juve goalkeeper – though Buffon will likely surpass Maldini's 647 record next term as he is just seven matches behind.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: ANDREA PIRLO

Has there been a more iconic duo of the modern era?

Pirlo was already at the top by the time he swapped Milan for Juve, but he saved plenty of his play-making brilliance for Buffon and friends as the Bianconeri re-asserted themselves as Italy's top club with a run of successive Scudetti. 

 

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: PAVEL NEDVED

Nedved's blend of athleticism, tenacity and well-rounded technical ability made him close to the complete midfielder.

He helped Czech Republic to the final of Euro 1996 and his value to Juve was summed up by a Ballon d'Or victory in 2003.

 

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: FRANCESCO TOTTI

Buffon said it would have been "ruining a masterpiece" to have kept out some of the goals the talismanic Totti scored against him for Roma.

They were certainly on the same page in the international arena, helping their country conquer the world in 2006.

 

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ROBERTO BAGGIO

Less than two years after a 17-year-old Buffon held Baggio and Milan scoreless, the pair were sharing the same shirt for Italy.

Two of the Azzurri's greatest were in the same squad at the 1998 World Cup, remaining team-mates until Baggio retired in 2004.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO

He stands as an equal to Buffon in the pantheon of Juve luminaries.

Buffon and the artistic Del Piero combined to help the Bianconeri finish top of Serie A on five occasions, while they lined up for Italy together for over a decade and experienced the top prize of winning the World Cup together.

 

STRIKER: KYLIAN MBAPPE

Although David Trezeguet enjoyed 10 prolific seasons at the opposite end of the Juve team to Buffon, Mbappe gets the nod in attack for the remarkable nature of his 2018-19 campaign.

The France international scored an astonishing 33 Ligue 1 goals from 29 appearances and took the lead role after Neymar's injury, becoming the face of the team and a leader despite his tender age of 20. While Trezeguet was a fine player, Mbappe is on the trajectory to becoming an all-time great.

Gianluigi Buffon is extending his remarkable a career for at least another season after completing a stunning return to Juventus on a one-year contract.

Just as he did upon joining Paris Saint-Germain 12 months ago, the Italy legend has shelved thoughts of retirement and will once again intend on challenging for the number one shirt at a dominant domestic force.

It will be the Parma product's 25th season as a professional but, even with his World Cup and nine Serie A titles, the 41-year-old is not alone in at least one respect.

Here are seven  other football legends who, like Buffon, carried on playing into their fifth decade.


RYAN GIGGS

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was an ultimate one-club man, staying at Manchester United for the entirety of his glittering career. Giggs managed to slowly transform himself from a rapid, tricky winger into a cultured central midfielder in the latter years of his playing days, helping to extend his time on the pitch beyond 40. Giggs won an extraordinary haul of medals at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a pair of Champions League crowns. Giggs played in 632 Premier League games, scoring 109 goals, with only Gareth Barry topping his appearance tally. Giggs worked as Louis van Gaal's assistant at United, having taken charge on an interim basis following the sacking of David Moyes, and he will go down in history as both a club and football legend.

PAOLO MALDINI

Paolo Maldini was still going strong for AC Milan beyond his 40th birthday and, like Giggs, he only ever played for one club. Seven league titles and an incredible five European Cup/Champions League wins headline a litany of honours that Maldini helped marshal at San Siro, playing across their near impenetrable back four for almost 25 years. Maldini, son of another Milan legend, Cesare, is one of a select group of players who made over 1,000 appearances in all competitions during their career. To complete the journey, the former Italy man returned to the Rossoneri as technical director in June.

KAZUYOSHI MIURA

Kazuyoshi Miura is the only other man on this list, alongside Buffon, who is still playing. That the Japanese striker made his debut almost 10 years beforehand begins to tell part of his incredible tale. Known as King Kazu, Miura plays for Yokohama FC in Japan's second tier and signed a fresh deal in January to extend his career. The oldest player and goalscorer in the history of global professional football, Miura is regarded as one of the finest Asian players never to have featured at a World Cup, although he made 89 appearances for his country.

 

STANLEY MATTHEWS

Before Miura snatched them off him, Stanley Matthews held the record for both the oldest professional footballer and the oldest goalscorer in the game. Matthews - the Wizard of Dribble - made nearly 700 league appearances for Stoke City and Blackpool in a career that spanned three decades. The 1953 FA Cup final is regarded as the Matthews Final, even though Blackpool's Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick. Matthews won the first-ever European Footballer of the Year award, while he was capped for England 84 times.

DINO ZOFF

Goalkeepers often play deep into their thirties, but not many captain their country to World Cup glory at the age of 40. But that is exactly what Dino Zoff did at the World Cup in 1982. He made 40 appearances in World Cup finals and qualifiers in total, while as a coach he led Italy to the final of Euro 2000. It must be something about Juventus, as Buffon's club is also where Zoff spent the best years of his career, winning six Serie A titles.

RIVALDO

Best known for his spell at Barcelona in club football, Brazil icon Rivaldo was still playing beyond his 40th birthday, albeit only briefly. Rivaldo came out of retirement to sign for Mogi Mirim, the club where his son Rivaldinho was also on the books. Rivaldo picked up two LaLiga titles at Barcelona before continuing his European adventure with AC Milan, winning the 2002–03 Champions League with the Rossoneri. But it is as a Brazil international that Rivaldo is best remembered, having been a key part of the side that won the World Cup in 2002.

 

ROGER MILLA

Roger Milla became the World Cup's oldest scorer when he hit the net for Cameroon in 1994 at the age of 42, having announced himself at the same tournament four years previously with his famous corner-flag dance. Milla's four goals at the 1990 World Cup helped Cameroon to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament and he is fondly regarded as one of Africa's greatest ever players. Remarkably, Milla regained the African Footballer of the Year title 14 years after he first won the award.

Paolo Maldini has been named AC Milan's new technical director, while Zvonimir Boban has been appointed to the newly created role of chief football officer.

Milan icon Maldini replaces Leonardo in the post, with the Brazilian reported to be returning to a similar post at former club Paris Saint-Germain.

Boban, who played for the club between 1991 and 2001, has left FIFA - where he was the body's deputy secretary general - to return to Milan.

Maldini previously worked as Milan's sporting strategy and development director but Ivan Gazidis, the club's chief executive, feels he is the right man to succeed Leonardo.

"Paolo embodies that quality and those values that are the building blocks of our club," he told Milan's official website. "I am happy to have him at the helm of our sporting area.

"With him, we will be able to build a modern club, formed by professionals of the highest quality. It will be a journey we will pursue together to achieve a challenging and compelling project, one which will require great energy and dedication.

"I am confident Paolo will be able to project his experience, his vision and his leadership. Paolo is an integral part of AC Milan and knows the way to success. He will be an important point of reference for everyone."

Boban and Maldini will work closely together, with the former team-mates reuniting on the Rossoneri's backroom staff.

"I am very happy to return to my beloved Milan and I will give my contribution to bring it back where it deserves to be," Boban said in a Milan statement.

"Milan must be a leading and winning club, because this is the only nature of its history and it's the nature of our fans and their passion. I will give all of myself for this cause and for the Rossoneri colours.

"When Paolo called me to check on my availability, I jumped into my car and went to his home in Milan in the middle of the night.

"After talking with Ivan and the club, everything was clear. And here I am, in my city, in my club I love and in a land that has given me so much. I hope I can repay the trust placed in me."

Milan are still seeking a successor to Gennaro Gattuso as head coach, but they are reportedly close to appointing Marco Giampaolo from Sampdoria.

AC Milan are giving Paolo Maldini time to consider the offer of becoming sporting director, Ivan Gazidis has revealed.

Leonardo left the role on Tuesday, departing alongside head coach Gennaro Gattuso as the Rossoneri look to rebuild after again falling short of Champions League qualification.

Lille director Luis Campos has been linked with Milan, but chief executive Gazidis is instead hoping to appoint club great Maldini, the team's sporting strategy and development director.

However, Maldini - Milan's record appearance holder with 902 matches across 24 years at San Siro - has been allowed time to make a decision.

"I admire [Maldini] immensely," Gazidis told Gazzetta dello Sport. "He represents the club's values ​​and culture. You see Maldini and you see Milan.

"He is ideal for a technical role. He would have a good staff around him. It wouldn't be a role just for show but one that is absolutely central in technical decisions.

"I'm not asking him to do everything by himself. He'll work as part of a group, he'll be supported and helped. He can give us a lot.

"It's been a tiring season for everyone and Paolo has asked for time to reflect and consider if he has the energy to start over with this difficult and arduous project.

"It will require his utmost commitment - he must totally buy into it. He must feel 100 per cent. That's the condition for anyone who wants to come to Milan. But in the case of Maldini, he is Milan.

"I don't want to think about people who are not Maldini. I'm waiting for Paolo's decision, then we'll make a decision on the coach and the players."

With Gattuso also having departed, Gazidis plans to be able to call on Maldini to help with the next appointment.

"The coach will be chosen with care," he said. "Their age or nationality doesn't matter. What matters is that they're suited to what we want to do and build.

"The decision - hopefully with Maldini's help - will be made calmly, studying every detail: history, character, profile, results, statistics. We don't want to do anything wrong."

AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis wants to appoint Paolo Maldini as technical director following Leonardo's departure.

Leonardo stepped down as sporting director on Tuesday – the same day head coach Gennaro Gattuso resigned from the Serie A club.

Milan are set for a busy off-season after missing out on Champions League qualification by just one point and CEO Gazidis is eyeing a new role for club great Maldini, who is the team's sporting strategy and development director.

"Ideas, talent and solid base, like that we will bring Milan back to the top," Gazidis said in an excerpt from his interview with Gazzetta dello Sport to be published on Wednesday.

"And I want Maldini as the technical director."

Maldini – Milan's record appearance holder with 902 matches across 24 years for the Rossoneri – retired in 2009 and rejected a behind-the-scenes position in 2016 before taking up a role under owners Elliot Management in August.

The 50-year-old could be involved in the search for a new coach, with Milan linked to the likes of Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri and Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo.

Daniele De Rossi will not join former team-mate Francesco Totti among the greatest one-club men in football history after his Roma departure was confirmed.

De Rossi has never played for a club other than the Giallorossi but the 35-year-old has indicated he will seek to play on elsewhere before aiming to become a coach.

Defensive midfielder De Rossi was part of the Italy squad that triumphed at the 2006 World Cup and he is expected to leave Serie A for the end of his playing career.

It had been widely anticipated De Rossi would see out his career with Roma, but who are some of the finest players to have only played for one club?


FRANCESCO TOTTI (ROMA)

De Rossi and Totti shared great years together at Roma, with the forward passing on the armband to his colleague upon his retirement. Totti, now a director at Roma who is also acting as an ambassador for Euro 2020, won a single Serie A title with the club in 2000-2001 and was a runner-up on a further nine occasions. A gifted playmaker as well as a fine goalscorer, Totti also won two Coppas Italia at the club but would surely have had more medals to show for his brilliant career had he left Roma at any point - he claimed to have turned down Real Madrid in 2004. Totti and De Rossi will both go down in history among Roma's greats.


RYAN GIGGS, PAUL SCHOLES (MANCHESTER UNITED)

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was an ultimate one-club man, staying at Manchester United for the entirety of his glittering career. Giggs managed to slowly transform himself from a rapid, tricky winger into a cultured central midfielder in the latter years of his playing days, helping to extend his time on the pitch beyond 40. Giggs won an extraordinary haul of medals at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a pair of Champions League crowns. Giggs played in 632 Premier League games, scoring 109 goals, and served as assistant under Louis van Gaal following retirement after an interim spell in charge in the wake of David Moyes' exit.

Another Class of 92 graduate, Paul Scholes was a team-mate of Giggs for much of his career, although he played international football for England instead of Wales. A classy passer with an eye for spectacular strikes from distance, Scholes was occasionally under-appreciated but not by his fellow professionals. Zinedine Zidane described Scholes as "complete" and "undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation". Like Giggs, he stepped into management but only lasted a month in charge at Oldham Athletic before leaving the League Two club, who he supported as a boy.

Scholes - who came out of retirement to play again for United - and Giggs are involved at Salford City after a Class of 92 takeover of the club in 2014, with Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Phil Neville also co-owners. Following their latest promotion, Salford became a Football League club for the first time this month and they will play in League Two next season.


PAOLO MALDINI, FRANCO BARESI (AC MILAN)

Paolo Maldini was, like Giggs for United, still going strong for AC Milan beyond his 40th birthday. Seven league titles and an incredible five European Cup/Champions League wins headline a litany of honours that Maldini helped marshal at San Siro, playing across their near impenetrable back four for almost 25 years. Maldini, son of another Milan legend, Cesare, is one of a select group of players who made over 1,000 appearances in all competitions during their career. 

He followed in the footsteps of another legendary Italy defender who only played for Milan - Franco Baresi - who captained the Rossoneri for most of his long career at San Siro. Baresi won six Serie A titles and collected three European crowns, as well as helping Italy win the World Cup in 1982. Baresi's brilliance was also recognised when he was a runner-up in the Ballon d'Or in 1989 and was included in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team a year later.

 


JAMIE CARRAGHER (LIVERPOOL)

Jamie Carragher was one of the great Premier League centre-backs, making 508 appearances in the competition for Liverpool. Now a pundit for Sky Sports in the UK, Carragher never won a league title with Liverpool but helped his side to a pair of FA Cups, as well as playing the full match as the Reds produced one of football's greatest ever comebacks to fight from 3-0 down at half-time in the 2005 final of the Champions League to beat Milan on penalties in Istanbul. The England international retired in 2013.

Gennaro Gattuso has said he is not interested in speculation linking him with the Roma job as he has plenty of work to do at AC Milan.

The Giallorossi are on the lookout for a new permanent manager after sacking Eusebio Di Francesco last month following their Champions League exit at the hands of Porto.

Claudio Ranieri has been placed in charge until the end of the season, but iconic figure Francesco Totti is said to be pushing for the club to bring in Gattuso ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

Gattuso could also be out of work in the coming weeks as reports in Italy suggest Milan are after a new coach to take them forward following rumoured tension behind the scenes between the 41-year-old and sporting director Leonardo.

However, Milan's sporting strategy and development director Paolo Maldini praised Gattuso this week for showing "great character" in the face of off-field adversity, with the Italian giants being probed by UEFA for possible Financial Fair Play irregularities, and the ex-midfielder has suggested he intends to stay put at San Siro.

"I really enjoyed the words of Maldini yesterday," he said at Friday's news conference. "I still have a two-year contract. My goal is to return to the Champions League, the rest is just gossip."

Milan have taken just one point from the last 12 on offer in Serie A, allowing the chasing pack to close the gap on them in the race for a top-four finish.

Gattuso's side occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot, but they are level on points with Atalanta and just one better off than Roma with seven games to go.

Ahead of Saturday's home match against seventh-placed Lazio, who will draw level on points with Milan if they win, Gattuso has called on his players to match their display from last week's 2-1 loss at leaders Juventus.

"Lazio are a very physical team, in this aspect they are like Juventus,” he added. "They always fill the penalty box well. Tomorrow, it won’t be enough to just play well, we will need great desire. We will have to play in the best possible way.

"I’d be happy to see us replicate the performance against Juventus, obviously without certain mistakes. I want to see the same mentality as a week ago. It has been a good week, we trained well."

Milan will still be without goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and influential midfielder Lucas Paqueta for this weekend's clash because of a muscular injury and sprained ankle respectively, both sustained in the first half of the 1-1 draw with Udinese on April 2.

Providing an update on the duo's fitness, Gattuso said: "Gigio should be with us again next week. Paqueta is improving."

Paolo Maldini has confirmed AC Milan plan to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko to a permanent deal if their resources allow.

The France midfielder struggled for form after joining Chelsea in 2017 and moved to Milan on loan at the start of the season, again enduring a tough start to life in a new country.

But the former Monaco man has since established himself as a key man for the Rossoneri.

Gennaro Gattuso's men are fourth in Serie A - ahead of Atalanta on head-to-head - and club chief Maldini is keen to secure Champions League qualification and bring in Bakayoko.

"[Bakayoko] showed great character," Maldini told Mediaset. "He didn't start very well and had to adapt to a different situation than he was used to

"We are super happy with him and we will try to keep him.

"It will depend on Financial Fair Play and the final position in the league. [Qualifying for] the Champions League will matter in the market but also for the mood of the squad."

Bakayoko has made 25 league appearances this season, scoring once.

Kenny Dalglish will manage a team of Liverpool legends in a charity match against former AC Milan stars next month.

Reds great Dalglish made 515 appearances for the club between 1977 and 1990, scoring 172 goals, and enjoyed two spells as manager, first between 1985 and 1991 and then again between 2011 and 2012.

He lifted six league titles and three European Cups as a Liverpool player, before winning the top flight three times while in the dugout.

Proceeds from the game against Milan Glorie, which will be played at Anfield on March 23, will go to the LFC Foundation and AC Milan's official charity, Fondazione Milan.

Players confirmed to appear include Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Paolo Maldini, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman.

"I certainly didn't expect to be taking on a manger role again, but it's all for such a great cause," Dalglish told Liverpool's official website.

"Like myself, the boys are happy to turn up and support the LFC Foundation, which helps thousands of less fortunate children and young people every year.

"It's the perfect opportunity for young fans, the future generation of the club, to enjoy the famous atmosphere of Anfield, which many won't have had the pleasure of before."

Paolo Maldini says Gennaro Gattuso is a far more balanced character than his intense touchline demeanour suggests and remains the right man for AC Milan. 

Gonzalo Higuain is a "true champion" who has elevated the play of everyone around him at AC Milan, former defender Paolo Maldini has said. 

Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan remain a "long way off" challenging Juventus for the Serie A title. 

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