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

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.


Spain’s Marc Gasol on verge of rare NBA-World Cup double

Updated 15 September 2019

Spain’s Marc Gasol on verge of rare NBA-World Cup double

  • The 34-year-old proved his enduring quality by saving Spain in Friday’s double overtime victory over Australia

BEIJING: Spain’s Marc Gasol is one victory away from a rare feat — winning the NBA crown and a Basketball World Cup in the same year.

Only Lamar Odom, a double winner in 2010 with the US and the Los Angeles Lakers, has ever managed that, according to basketball’s governing body FIBA.

Now the center Gasol, who played a key role in the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA title, is on the verge of joining him in the history books.

The 34-year-old proved his enduring quality by saving Spain in Friday’s double overtime victory over Australia to set up a World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday in Beijing.

He had 33 points, six rebounds and four assists after stepping up when his country needed him most.

Gasol, who also lifted the world crown with Spain in 2006, said he was less interested in his personal landmark and more motivated by what it means for his country.

“I just cherish every moment for what it is,” the three-time NBA All-Star told FIBA. “I don’t try to double up. I want to give the maximum for every occasion.

“It is two completely different situations. I’m going to give my best to win a World Cup for Spain.”

BACKGROUND

Outgoing champions Team USA won their final match at the Basketball World Cup — but it was still their worst finishing place in the tournament’s history.

Gasol admitted that playing matches every other day in China soon after a long NBA season was tough.

“I knew that committing to the national team this summer would not be easy physically because we were so lucky to stretch our (NBA) season and get away with a championship,” he said.

“But it’s completely worth it.”

Few predicted a Spain-Argentina final.

But quarter-final defeats for reigning two-time champions the US and title favorites Serbia left the door open for the remainder of the field.

Argentina were convincing 80-66 winners over France in their semifinal with their 39-year-old talisman Luis Scola propelling them into the showdown with Spain.

Scola finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and two assists, and was given a huge ovation when he stepped off the court near the end.

Argentine coach Sergio Hernandez said there was no secret ingredient to Scola’s success, even as middle age approaches.

“He works so hard,” said Hernandez, explaining how Scola had locked himself away in his own training camp at the start of the summer.

“He was in his house, in the middle of nowhere, for 14 weeks in a row,” said Hernandez.

“He made a basketball court and was there was a basketball trainer and a physical trainer.”

Argentina’s only previous World Cup success came as hosts in the inaugural edition in 1950.

Also on Sunday, Australia, who led for long periods against Spain, play France for bronze.