Paolo Maldini 'angry' over Milan plight
Paolo Maldini has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that AC Milan are "throwing away 10 years of hard work" and pointed the finger at general manager Adriano Galliani.
The Rossoneri are currently enduring one of their worst spells of form in the last two decades. Dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, it now appears qualification for the Europa League next season will be beyond their reach.
Twelve points separate them from their city rivals Inter Milan in fifth place and, with only 10 games of the Serie A season remaining, Milan are having to face up to their first season without European football since 1998.
Club legend Maldini, who has kept a relatively low profile since retiring in 2009, has decided it is time to break his silence with a damning assessment of their current plight.
"There's a mixture of anger and disappointment inside me," Maldini, who won the Champions League five times with Milan during his 24-season stay, told Gazzetta. "Not so much for the results, because it's already happened for Milan to finish 10th or 11th, but because I get the impression that they are throwing away 10 years of hard work. This really hurts.
"I know how much work went in to all those triumphs and what it took to build such a beautiful story and to see it all destroyed drives me crazy."
Maldini believes the time has come for Galliani to step aside and let some of the club's former greats shape the future.
"At Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, former stars are all working within the club," the 45-year-old said. "This is the first big problem -- Juventus have realised that and they're rebuilding with a solid group of Italians who know how things are won. I'm suffering seeing Milan in these conditions.
"Galliani is a great [general] manager, but he's not able to understand the players. He does everything by himself and this is not possible. If you have plenty of competent people around you, you make fewer mistakes."
On the decision to allow Andrea Pirlo to join Juve on a free transfer in 2011, he added: "If the coach comes and says, 'Andrea's past his best, I don't need him anymore,' you need somebody in the club strong enough to say: 'Hold on -- Pirlo's part of the club's heritage, he's got to stay'.
"That way, maybe we wouldn't have done Juve a favour. Another thing: Milan can no longer afford to have such a poor network of scouts. Milan are light years behind clubs who are far smaller than they are.
"It's not up to me to decide [if Galliani should go], but when you feel omnipotent, you fail to realise that the results you get are thanks to other people. To win, you need ideas, plans and passion, and all Milan have left is passion."
Maldini insists former teammate Clarence Seedorf, who replaced Massimiliano Allegri as coach in January, cannot be blamed for the poor results his side are delivering on the field.
"Not even Pep Guardiola could do anything," Maldini said. "I'm not apportioning any of the blame to Clarence. Of course he can't be an expert, but he's got great courage and personality. Maybe it would have been wiser to bring in a more conservative coach until the end of the season because there's a risk that [Seedorf] gets ruined. I never thought that any other coach could do better [than Allegri] and turn things around."