Friday, December 7, 2007


At Yokohama there’s the entire Milan. And even though there will be many close games on their return back to Italy, it will be worth it. Maldini wants to close the circle and states again: “I play up till the 30th of June 2008.”

YOKOHAMA (Tokyo) – Punctual, at 11.30am, under the eyes of the FIFA delegate, here is Milan. Ready for the Media Conference at the “Yokohama Royal Park Hotel”, from left to right, Adriano Galliani, Carlo Ancelotti, Paolo Maldini, Alberto Gilardino and Kala Kaladze. Behind them the official logo: JAPAN 2007 – Fifa Club World Cup.

The first one to talk is Adriano Galliani, General Manager of Milan: “We’re here in Japan for the sixth time, it’s an extraordinary thing. From the coach, the ceremony, this press conference, we noticed that we are not playing the old intercontinental cup, but something else, something new. This is really the Club World Cup. Last night we were saying on the plane that from the many teams which play football in Europe, only one comes to Japan and we’re happy to represent our continenta. All of Milan know that for this sports season this is the main objective of our club. We shall do everything possible to win this cup.”

Then Carlo Ancelotti: “The expectations are very important and we have a precise objective: to win. There are very good teams taking part in this event, from all continents. It will not be easy, but we are convinced that we have the qualities to obtain the best.”

After the introductory greetings of Paolo Maldini (“This trophy is a point of arrival for any player.”), Alberto Gilardino (“I will try to give my contribution in this new experience for me”) and Kaladze (“We have arrived a bit early to prepare ourselves well, but it will not be easy”), the questions followed.

Paolo Maldini is asked if he intends on retiring just after the Club World Cup: “I have absolutely no intention of doing so. I signed until the 30th of June 2008 and that will be the end of my career. After five months of rehabilitation, it would be absurd to interrupt the season now that I’m fine. I want to enjoy until the end this season.” Paolo continued on the experiences, even the defeats, of his great career: “It’s true, I lost many finals, but to arrive to the finals you must win. And anyway the defeat is part of the game. Now we’re here for the end of the two years of work, the end of a circle which started with our coach. With Milan, here in Japan, the times we lost, I left knowing that I could return. With the national team, in 2002, I knew that I would have not had other chances. You can easily compare…in any case the defeats are never easy to digest, especially in the last two Intercontinental Cups, where we lost against two teams which were within our reach, especially Velez.”

Then Paolo Maldini replied to a question about Ronaldo: “It seemed like his problem had passed, but instead after Lisbon he was very sad. We’re sorry for him on the human level, but also on the technical level, because it’s not easy for a champion like him. He is not happy, he is a great player, he always wants to play and instead has not been playing for a very long time.”

The technical themes for the Club World Cup are discussed by Carlo Ancelotti: “We have seen all the teams and tonight we shall watch the first game of the tournament. Urawa has more experience and individuality than the Iranian team. The Japanese team is the team which has most advantages because it plays at home and does not have jet lag. They also have a high level of technical abilities. On our return to Italy we know that we shall have to recover three games, but we also know that we want to do better at home to recover the points which separate us from the fourth place.”

Finally, Alberto Gilardino (“These games confirm to me that in the summer of 2005 I made the right choice, Milan”) and Kaladze: “In 2003 I did not play, I was on the bench, as I was coming from an injury. I was sorry to lose in the penalty shoot-out. Now I’m fine and I’m happy to be here with Milan.”