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Apr, 17, 2013

Maldini: Italian football has to change

Former AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini has said Serie A needs investment and change if Italian clubs are to again become challengers for European trophies.

Maldini's comments came after Juventus, the last Italian club in this season's Champions League, were comprehensively beaten by German champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

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He said the two legs, both of which were won 2-0 by the Bundesliga team, showed the difference that greater investment could make.

Former defender Maldini, who made more appearances for Milan than any other player and won Europe's major club trophy five times, added: "To compete with the great teams in Europe, you have to invest money. There is no other way to reach that kind of level.

"You could see it with Juventus against Bayern. Juventus are a great team, but when you compete with a team like Bayern you can see the difference. They need at least two or three more great players."

He looked back to the 1990s, when he said the Italian top flight could boast seven great teams - Milan, Inter, Juventus, Parma, Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina - but added: "If you look at the players, they were great players. But there was some crazy investment and some teams went bankrupt, like Parma and Lazio.

"Then you had the Moratti and Berlusconi families who put in so much money and are still surviving. It is hard, though."

He said he believed clubs needed to change their approach to the business and infrastructure sides of the game in order to progress.

"If you go outside the San Siro, you can see people selling fake merchandising. It was like that when I started to play and it is still like that now," he said. "You can't allow this.

"Then you have old stadiums. San Siro is a historic stadium. It's nice, but it doesn't offer comfort. We have to improve it.

"Above all, we need to learn from leagues that make money from sports rather than lose money. Everyone is losing money in Italian football. It's crazy."

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