'I could never' - Paolo Maldini has already dropped Newcastle United and new stadium hint

Paolo Maldini has been out of work since leaving AC Milan as sporting director last June
AC Milan icon Paolo Maldini AC Milan icon Paolo Maldini
AC Milan icon Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini’s next job will be away from Italy after leaving AC Milan last summer - and he could even be integral in building a new stadium at Newcastle United.

Few players are as synonymous with a club as Maldini the Rossoneri. Regarded as one of the game's greatest players, the former defender spent 31 years at the San Siro as a player.

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Recent times have resulted in Maldini moving into the boardroom, operating as technical director from 2019 to 2023. They won their first Serie A for over a decade in 2022 and, with a retired shirt number and three generations of his family representing the club, nobody is more Milan than Maldini.

Reports have suggested the 55-year-old - who oversaw a regime that signed players like Theo Hernandez, Rafael Leao, Mike Maignan and Fikayo Tomori - is on Newcastle’s radar to replace Dan Ashworth as sporting director. Maldini has already revealed he will not be involved at another Italian club and hinted at joining the Saudi Pro League.

“For my job, the alternatives (in Italy) to Milan are very limited,” he said in December. “I could never go to another Italian team. Possibly I would only evaluate the offer of a high-level foreign team. I like winning and building. Saudi Arabia could be a stimulating option, who knows.”

Building a new stadium - a controversial topic among Toon fans - may also appeal. Maldini’s time as sporting director was dominated by the same debate taking place on Tyneside, with Milan buying 250,000 square metres of acres of land earlier this year.

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“I fought to make it clear that we needed a bigger stadium with some seats accessible to all,” he added. “The average of over 70,000 spectators at San Siro last season proves that I was right. A new, modern San Siro and welcoming is fundamental.

“The idea that the new stadium provides €80million more to invest in the market needs to be reevaluated, as demonstrated by last season’s numbers. When I talked about the potential and uniqueness that Milan has compared to other clubs, I probably caused laughter.

“But I know it’s like this. If there was the possibility, and the mayor is absolutely responsible for this, I would build the stadium at San Siro, perhaps again with Inter. After five years, not only is there no the first brick, but we don’t even know where the stadium will be built.

“Over the last 10 years, Milan have once again become a driving force in Europe because we have overcome old mental barriers. We must be afraid of degradation, not of the future. The current San Siro is iconic, but let’s realise that it was the great champions who played there who made it so. It’s still fantastic from a sporting point of view but we need a new story. The past is the past. Milan have always looked to the future.”

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