In an interview with Reuters, former AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini says that Italy’s Serie A needs radical change if its clubs are to compete for top European trophies with the more business-minded teams of the German Bundesliga and English Premier League.
"To compete with the great teams in Europe, you have to invest money, there is no other way to reach that kind of level," Maldini said, noting that the enormous sums invested in Italian soccer in the 1990s is now drying out.
The five-time European Cup/UEFA Champions League winner, who is currently living in Miami’s South Beach, said that Italian soccer could learn a lot from the business approach of professional sports teams in the United States. "We should learn from this mentality. In Italy we still have laws that don't work,” he said, adding that most Italian clubs still play in decaying municipal stadiums. “Above all we need to learn from leagues that make money from sports rather than lose money. Everyone is losing money in Italian soccer, it's crazy."
One positive offshoot from the lack of investment in Italy is that big clubs are forced to give homegrown talent a chance. "The positive is that clubs are looking to young players,” Maldini said, pointing out that the likes of Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio might not have been given a chance in better economic circumstances.