Milan Derby – Maldini: “Leonardo is not a traitor”

Milan legend Paolo Maldini has come to the defence of his one-time teammate and current Inter Coach Leonardo who some Rossoneri fans have accused of betraying the team for joining the Nerazzurri.
Leonardo will be on the Inter bench in tonight’s crunch Derby Della Maddonina, but there are many Milan fans who feel hurt at his decision to take over at their city rivals after a 13-year association with the Diavolo.
But Maldini has claimed that Milan fans should not be quick to judge Leonardo as his time with the Rossoneri had come to an end:
“I spoke to him ten days ago. He is happy and I am very happy for him. Leonardo is not a traitor, he is a professional and he did the right thing.
“I talked with him when he was negotiating with Inter and I advised him to take it up as this was a brilliant chance for him. He didn’t have a future with Milan.”

Maldini also shared with Gazzetta Dello Sport his views on tonight’s derby and the five-time European Cup winner drew on his experience from having played numerous derbies.
“I remember the 1993 derby, it was quite like this one, we were at the top and Inter were making their comeback. It ended 1-1 and we kept them at a safe distance and eventually won the Scudetto.
“If Milan win they will virtually take themselves six points clear as they would have an advantage in the head-to-head clashes. A victory will be crucial in terms of confidence, as a loss would put in some extra fear.”

The derby kicks off tonight at 1945 GMT with Milan leading Inter by only two points at the top of the table, and with just seven more rounds to go after the game. It will be live on ESPN in the UK.

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