Kaka to make AC Milan return, join Paolo Maldini, Leonardo in director roles

Former AC Milan player Kaka at the St. Petersburg Stadium. MB Media via Getty Images

Kaka will return to AC Milan in September to learn the ropes as a club director, according to technical director Leonardo.

Kaka, 36, spent two spells at Milan as a player and said when he retired in December, after three seasons with Orlando City, that he had already been approached by the club for a new role.

Speaking at the presentation of former teammate Paolo Maldini as sporting strategy and development director, Leonardo said he had invited Kaka back to the club to commence the next chapter of his career.

“He has made it clear that he wants to learn to become a director,” Leonardo said. “He’s my pupil and I adore him, and he will always have a bond with this club. He’s got a lot of desire and he will be in Milan in September.

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“There’s nothing planned yet, but he will come here to learn — for free.”

Milan are bidding to bring back their glory days after Elliott Management gained control once Li Yonghong defaulted on a debt repayment last month.

Leonardo’s appointment was the first step taken to bring in people who understand the club’s history and values, with Maldini — who spent his entire 25-year playing career with Milan — the latest.

Former general manager Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli were sacked by the club two weeks ago.

“Leonardo and the ownership showed me the project and I believe in it,” Maldini said. “I am really happy. Leonardo has been fundamental. People make the difference: We are friends, we are different, but we’ll fit together. We know the subject and we know the club.”

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Maldini, who said the agreement came together quickly, said he will be entrusted with various aspects of the club’s business, from working with the first team and the academy to managing the transfer market.

“I feel the pressure of the role and the responsibility,” he said. “It’s great to be back. A club needs a solid ownership and this is a solid ownership that wants to keep the club for a medium-long period of time. I today start my management career. I hope to achieve great results. I couldn’t ask for better people to work with than those I have by my side today.”

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