AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini explains why he rejected role with the club

"I’d never accept being used as merely a symbol"

Paolo Maldini, Milan

AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini salutes his fans at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and AS Roma at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, May 24, 2009. AC Milan captain 40 year-old Paolo Maldini played his last match at the San Siro stadium Sunday after 24 years and 901 games for the club.The match against AS Roma comes a week before the last game of the season away to Fiorentina and will bring to an end a career in which he has won seven Italian league titles

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has released a statement to explain why he turned down a role within the club's hierarchy.

The seven-time European Cup/Champions League winning Serie A giants are set to be taken over by a Chinese ownership group.

Maldini, who won a host of European and domestic titles with his hometown club in a career that saw him represent no other side, said financial issues were not at the heart of his decision.

"I pointed out that I’d give my all to a serious project, but I’d never accept being used as merely a symbol. I repeat, for me Milan is a choice of the heart," he said.

"I was offered the role of Technical Director, before that a sporting director would be hired with the faith of the CEO. Then, according to the organisational chart that was presented to me, I would discuss any project, purchase, or sale of a player with my sporting director.

"My specific question was what would happen if [the sporting director and I] disagreed, and [club CEO Marco] Fassone told me he would decide.

"I told him I didn't think that was the basis for a winning team. I've been part of teams which have made football history, and I know that to achieve results there has to be great synergy between all the corporate bodies and major investors, in addition to well-defined roles. The last few seasons where Milan have had joint-CEOs should have been a lesson."