Sport for Values: sporting life experiences

Leonardo and Paolo Maldini met more than 500 people at Pavesi sporting centre. The two Rossoneri executives told their first-hand experiences about sports and values

Milan, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This morning, over 500 people, including students and teachers of Pareto middle-school listened carefully and with great interest to the first-hand experience on sports and values of Leonardo and Paolo Maldini, respectively AC Milan’s Sporting Director and Sporting Strategy and Development Director. Giuseppe Frangi, Coordinator of Editoriale di Vita, moderated the panel.

The meeting, held at Pavesi sports centre, was a very important and significant moment for the boys and girls who were able to talk with the two Rossoneri leaders about their experience.

Leonardo said: "Fondazione Milan is 16 years old and we were among the first members. Helping people in need is our mission. Fondazione Milan, for example, set up an intensive care unit in Nazareth and this rose many religious debates and discussions on history. This structure is open to all religions and AC Milan, which has the strength to go anywhere, has managed to overcome these differences by getting everyone on board. Football as an educational model for our children? The team is a group that works for the same goal. There are rules to be respected, sport is a representation of what happens in life where there is healthy internal competition, there is training that involves sacrifices to be ready for the match. All this is even truer when football becomes a career. Defeat as a reason for growth? There is always a reason for every defeat. You must learn also from these things, trying to understand what didn't work and then to prepare at best for what comes after."

Paolo Maldini said: "Sometimes, as a football player you don't realize how much you can be socially engaged. Leo was one of the founders of Fondazione Milan and it was really important to understand the strength that football has in the social field. Different cultures living together in the world of football? We must communicate, speak up and understand. Often, diversity scares us. I remember that my first foreign teammates were English, and they taught me a lot, for example, the sports culture. Then I met the Dutch, who shared with me their open-mindedness, but in general, I learnt something from all the teammates coming from other countries and it was also thanks to them that I grew up to be a man. How did I deal with mistakes on the pitch? You always feel bad when you fail, or you lose, but it makes you grow as a man and as a footballer. The first few times I used to sit around the house and to think about my mistakes for days, then I realized that they are part of sports and so I learnt to better manage my problems and the defeats."

Leonardo and Maldini also talked about their vision of sports, the positive values that can be conveyed like sacrifice, team spirit, respect and fair play. Values that Fondazione Milan, the Rossoneri non-profit organization, has been spreading daily since its establishment in 2003 through the implementation of numerous projects in favour of young people, in particular through the Sport for Values program, which includes today's event.

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