With six Serie A Titles, three Champions Leagues and a World Cup to his name, Franco Baresi is the definition of a winner.
The former AC Milan captain cemented himself as a club legend during his playing career – being capped 719 times for the Rossoneri and winning 19 trophies during his 20-year spell.
Baresi has big plans at the San Siro in his new role as the Honorary Vice-President of the Club.
Speaking exclusively to Skrill, the once tough defender has candidly opened up about his love for AC Milan and how he is hoping to help future generations replicate the success he has had in the famous red and black jersey.
Q: Hello Franco, thank you for speaking with us today. How do you feel the season is going for AC Milan so far?
FB: I think AC Milan’s goal is to return to the Champions League after so many years out of this competition. The team is having a good season, we are joining third in the standings, it’s up to us, that’s our goal and we must hit it.
Q: You have now been the club's Honorary Vice President for almost six months, could you explain to fans what your role entails and what it means to you to be part of the senior management at the club?
FB: Being part of AC Milan is a responsibility, a privilege. After my career on the pitch I have come a long way – I've held different roles and now I am very proud of being Honorary Vice President.
Over the years, I have learnt what it means to be behind a desk trying to spread the values of belonging that have always been key for this club.
Q: You've been a club ambassador for some time. How do you feel you can impact the future of the club for years to come in this new role?
FB: I believe that my experience can be an added value in the club’s dynamics as well as the things I have learnt over the years and now I can do my part also as a director.
Q: You're renowned for being one of the best players in not only Milan's history, but football's history. What aspects of playing the game and influencing football on the pitch have you now brought to working behind the scenes and influencing football off the pitch?
FB: My long-time experience on the pitch has helped me to better evaluate the game, to advise on how to behave in every situation, for better or for worse, for victories and defeats. I think that it’s almost the same type of responsibility footballers have when they wear the AC Milan shirt.
Q: You played 196 games alongside Paolo Maldini as centre-back for Milan, conceding just 23 goals. How do you feel this bond and partnership with Paolo on pitch has benefitted working with him now?
FB: We played together for many years and have known each other since he made his debut when he was 16 years old. I am very happy that our relationship still exists today.
We both continue to work for AC Milan and we are both going to make all our knowledge and skills available to the club.
Q: Since your time on the pitch, how have you seen football change? How would you have had to adapt your game to play in the modern day?
FB: I have always thought of football as a proactive game, a game that thrills people. Yet football has changed externally, especially the approach to the media and the landing of social networks.
I’ve always thought that we must give the kids the joy of being able to imitate their favourite champions. Footballers should always keep in mind the responsibility they have when they play.
Q: If there was one player you would love to see AC Milan sign in the summer if money and availability were not an issue, who would it be?
FB: (Laughs) Let's engage in a fantasy play: Mbappé. I think he is an extraordinary player. He is young and is doing extraordinary things. He has strength, quality and plays in a modern way.
Q: Looking at today's team, who are the standout players for you? And where does Zlatan Ibrahimovic stand in your estimations of footballing greats?
FB: Today's team is trying to surprise and not to disappoint expectations. It is a group that is performing at high levels this year and gives us confidence for the future.
Zlatan is at the top of football; he is a legend. I believe that in the last 10 years he has been one of the best players in terms of quality and personality. And there’s no question on this.