Former Milan captain Maldini returns to club as director

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MILAN (AP) — Former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini has been presented to the media as the club's sporting strategy and development director.

Maldini spent his entire career at Milan, half of it as captain, and helped the team to seven Serie A titles and five European Cup/Champions League trophies before retiring in 2009.

Maldini's father, Cesare, played for and managed Milan, while his sons have also spent time in the Rossoneri youth teams, and Maldini said on Monday it was his "love for the club" which persuaded him to take on the role.

The 50-year-old Maldini says he has had unsuccessful meetings about a return to Milan before but was persuaded to take on the role by former teammate Leonardo, who was appointed as the Rossoneri's sporting director last month.

He adds: "Leonardo's role was fundamental. I'm a great friend of Leo's. We will share this experience together as we have done in the past."

It is another coup for Elliott Management, which took over the club last month after former owner Li Yonghong missed a deadline to repay part of a loan.

It has brought Leonardo back to the club and signed Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara from Juventus last week.

Milan president Paolo Scaroni says, "it's an important milestone in the construction of what Milan has to become."

Milan finished sixth in Serie A last season, 31 points behind champion Juventus.

Leonardo says "The objective is to get back to lifting trophies but patience is imperative. That is the end goal but the road is long and hard."

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