Former AC Milan and Italy legend, Paolo Maldini, says Italian football needs radical changes and major investment before it stagnates for good.
No Serie A teams have made the semi-finals of the Champions League since Inter Milan’s win in 2010. And the way Serie A champions Juventus were swatted aside by Bayern Munich in the last-eight this season was chastening to Italy’s football establishment.
Maldini has diagnosed the woes of Italian club football, suggesting a severe lack of investment in teams and infrastructure has left the Serie A treading water.
"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 in an interview with Reuters.
"You could see it with Juventus against Bayern. Juventus are a great team, especially in Italy, but when you compete with a team like Bayern, you can see the difference. They need at least two or three more great players."
Maldini experienced the rise and fall of Italian football during his illustrious career at the San Siro. And he has called for a return to the kind of investment that made teams like Milan, Inter, Juventus, Parma, Lazio, Roma, Fiorentina forces to be reckoned with in Europe until the recession bit.
The former defender also says that Italian football should become more business savvy and professional in general, like the lucrative sporting codes he enjoys watching when in America.
"We should learn from this mentality,” he said, referring to organisations like the National Basketball Association.
“In Italy we still have laws that don't work.
"If you go outside the San Siro (stadium) you can see people selling fake merchandising, it was like that when I started to play and it is still like that now. You can't allow this.
"Then you have old stadiums, very old stadiums. San Siro is a historic stadium, it's nice but it doesn't offer comfort ...we have to improve it.
"Above all we need to learn from leagues that make money from sports rather than lose money. Everyone is losing money in Italian football, it's crazy."