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Adriano Galliani out, Paolo Maldini possibly in at AC Milan

Nov 29, 2013, 8:48 PM EDT

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The saga that is AC Milan’s front office took a surprise, dramatic turn today with the abrupt resignation of Adriano Galliani. The Rossoneri vice president had been at the club for 27 years, a span that’s seen the club win eight league titles and five European Cups, yet set to take the blame for the team’s disappointing Serie A start, Galliani will end his time at Milan on the wrong side of the club’s political turmoil.

That turmoil had pitted critics of head coach Massimiliano Allegri against Barbara Berluconi, daughter of club owner Silvio Berluconi. With her father in legal trouble, Barbara has reportedly stepped into the political void at the club, targeting her criticism at Galliani. With Milan sitting 13th through 13 rounds, the 69-year-old appears to have taken the fall.

From Sky Sports’ report:

“I will resign after the (Champions League) match against Ajax,” Galliani told Ana news agency. “I quit for good reason.

“I understand a generational change but it should not be like that, I deserved more elegance. There has been a severe damage to my image.

“I will resign with or without agreement (on the severance pay).

“My future? I’ll wait some time before deciding. My affection for president Berlusconi is not changed and it won’t change.”

If Galliani’s timeline holds up, Dec. 11 will be his final day with the club.

In his place, the Rossoneri appear set to welcome an exiled legend back to the club. Paolo Maldini, who has not been a part of the club since his retirement in 2009, is set to take up a role in management, reportedly to be named technical director and inherit some of the responsibilities Galliani will leave behind. Whereas the former vice president initially declined to create a position for Maldini (saying the role proposed after his retirement did not exist), the 45-year-old may get to take Galliani’s nameplate off the door.

Maldini’s is a name synonymous with the club, having spent the entirety of his 24-year career at the team. By the time he retired at the age of 41, the 126-time Italian international had won five European cups, seven scudetti, and three world club titles. He holds the record for most appearances in Serie A (647), Champions League (168), and for AC Milan (902). A long-time captain for both club and country, his absence from Milan has been a point of persistent conversation around the club.

Now, at Galliani’s expense, he returns, the legendary defender the beneficiary of  a political battle that finally seems resolved. Whether that will translate into better results remains to be seen, but with one chapter of the club’s boardroom drama closed, a little more attention can be focused on the field.

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