Boban, Maldini join former club AC Milan in reshuffle

Former greats Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini are back in tandem at AC Milan. (Supplied)
Updated 14 June 2019
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Boban, Maldini join former club AC Milan in reshuffle

  • Boban spent 10 years as a player at Milan from 1991 until 2001, winning four Serie A titles and the 1993-94 Champions League
  • The 50-year-old Maldini played over 900 games across 25 seasons with Milan at the San Siro, lifting the European Cup five times, as well as seven Serie A titles

MILAN: Zvonimir Boban left his role as FIFA deputy secretary general on Friday to join his former club and “family” AC Milan, while Paolo Maldini’s appointment as technical director was also confirmed by the Italian giants.
The 50-year-old Croatian Boban has been working at FIFA since 2016, but will now take a job as Italian giants Milan’s “chief football officer,” to work alongside Maldini.
Boban spent 10 years as a player at Milan from 1991 until 2001, winning four Serie A titles and the 1993-94 Champions League.
“The people at AC Milan are my family and the city of Milan and Italy are my home,” said Boban.
“I have a burning desire to help this glorious club, which means so much to me, to return where it belongs.”
Gennaro Gattuso quit as Milan head coach last month, reportedly over spending cuts ahead of the transfer window.
The seven-time European champions finished only fifth in Serie A last season, missing out on a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014.
“Milan must be a leading and winning club, because this is the only nature of its history and it’s the essence of our fans and their passion,” Boban added.
“I will give all of myself for this cause and for the Rossoneri colors. When Paolo called me to check on my availability, I jumped into my car and went to his home in Milan in the middle of the night to evaluate the situation.”
Milan are yet to name a new coach, while Brazilian Leonardo also stepped down as sporting director and is expected to rejoin former club Paris Saint-Germain.
Maldini steps into his shoes as technical director, a move that chief executive Ivan Gazidis already said last month he was looking to make happen.
“I am confident Paolo will be able to project his experience, his vision and his leadership,” said Gazidis on Friday.
“Paolo is an integral part of AC Milan and knows the way to success. He will be an important example for all.”
The 50-year-old Maldini played over 900 games across 25 seasons with Milan at the San Siro, lifting the European Cup five times, as well as seven Serie A titles and the 2003 Coppa Italia.


Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

Updated 21 July 2019
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Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

  • Juventus struggle to adapt to their new manager’s ‘Sarri-ball’ tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes

SINGAPORE: Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura's short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri's Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd.

“It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance to shoot I will, and it just went in,” Kane said in a post-match interview.

A youthful Spurs dominated the first half as Juventus struggled to adapt to their new manager’s “Sarri-ball” tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes. Instead of moving the ball forward, Juventus often found themselves defending desperately after being caught in possession as Spurs pressed high up the pitch with the Premier League side going on to take a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.

Son Heung-min started the move by holding up play and feeding Troy Parrott for a clear run at Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal, with the 17-year-old forward's low strike parried by the keeper straight into the path of an unmarked Erik Lamela for a routine tap-in.

Juventus had more success after the break when they increased their tempo and went more direct, and halftime substitute Gonzalo Higuain levelled the score in the 56th minute with a drilled strike after exchanging passes with Federico Bernardeschi.

Buoyed by the equalizer, Juventus were soon ahead when Ronaldo arrived late to drive home Mattia De Sciglio's cutback four minutes later, leaving to rapturous applause by an adoring crowd when he was substituted immediately after scoring.

Spurs were level five minutes later, however, when Champions League semifinal hero Lucas fired home record-signing Tanguy Ndombele's low cross, the French midfielder finding the Brazilian with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.

Kane and Higuain both squandered good chances to score winning goals in the final 10 minutes before the England striker prevented the contest going to a penalty shootout with the most brilliant of strikes.

Meantime, Tottenham forward  Moura insists he does not  hold a grudge against boss Mauricio Pochettino despite being dropped for the Champions League final.

“I need to respect the decision of the coach and respect my teammates, so no problem with this,” said Lucas who was left on the bench for the final in spite of scoring a dramatic hat rick in Spurs' stunning semifinal comeback at Ajax.

Pochettino preferred to use  Kane in attack against Liverpool in Madrid despite a lengthy absence following injury.

Brazil international Lucas eventually came on in the 66th minute, but was unable to prevent Tottenham slipping to a 2-0 defeat.

“Of course it was difficult because every player wants to play. But it was even more to lose the game,” Lucas was quoted as saying by several British media outlets.

“For sure he (Pochettino) has a good reason for this (decision) and I am sure that it was difficult for him as well to choose a player. He needs to choose only 11.”

“I respect, I am a professional. No problem for this. Now I look forward to the next season.”