Milan need to be playing Champions League – Kalac excited by Giampaolo

Zeljko Kalac is hopeful Marco Giampaolo can bring Champions League football back to AC Milan as he hailed the Italian's arrival at the Serie A giants.

Giampaolo will lead Milan in 2019-20 after leaving Sampdoria to replace Gennaro Gattuso on a two-year deal at San Siro, with an option to extend through to June 2022.

The 51-year-old arrives in Milan after establishing Sampdoria's position in the top half of the table with an entertaining brand of football over his three seasons in Genoa.

Not since 2013 have 18-time champions Milan finished in Serie A's top four but former goalkeeper Kalac is excited by Giampaolo's appointment.

"They'll play a good brand of football," Kalac – who won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his four years at Milan – told Omnisport. "The way his teams play, fantastic. He is a real believer in possession, playing out from the back. They'll be very entertaining.

"He's done a great job at Sampdoria obviously with the next tier of players down. So, I think with a better quality of player, Milan will be even better.

"Hopefully Milan can get back to the top if he can finish in the top four to get back to where they deserve. One thing I always say is Milan don't wear all those stars on their jerseys for no reason. They need to be playing in the Champions League and competing for the Champions League."

Club great Gattuso quit Milan last month after the Rossoneri narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification in 2018-19.

Gattuso was promoted from the Primavera team in November 2017 after Vincenzo Montella's sacking and his one and only full season in charge saw Milan finish just a point outside the Champions League positions.

Kalac, who played alongside tenacious midfielder Gattuso between 2005 and 2009 after arriving from Perugia, added: "What Rino did was fantastic. He brought the culture back to Milan. There's something I really believe in football and that's to have a culture at a club and I think Rino brought that back.

"Was his team the best? Probably not. But what he did bring back was the red and black, and the heart and soul of the club. Rino was there to do a job and he did the job fantastically. People don't understand what kind of pressure coaching Milan is. It's enormous pressure."

Milan have a new-look set-up heading into 2019-20 with icon Paolo Maldini now technical director following Leonardo's return to Paris Saint-Germain. Former star Zvonimir Boban has also been named chief football officer after leaving his role at FIFA, while ex-Roma chief Frederic Massara has arrived as sporting director.

"I think they have the right people in charge. Maldini – another person who bleeds Milan and knows the culture," former Australia international Kalac said. "What Milan went away from for many years was the culture of the person, not just the footballer but the actual person. I remember when I got to Milan, there was a lot of talk that they didn't sign clowns, they signed professionals and people who were humble and hungry for success. They will bring that back.

"Now with Maldini and Boban – they have the right people that know what kind of players the supporters expect."

Kalac, 46, added: "People talk about the glory years of Milan and everyone wants it back, but Maldinis aren't born every day, the Kakas, [Clarence] Seedorfs, [Andrea] Pirlos and Cafus aren't born every day. These were special players. It wasn't just one, it was a squad full of them.

"People have to be realistic too. That generation doesn't exist anymore. So you need to have that culture with a team ethic. Even as special as those players were, they were all part of a team. They knew their roles. That's what Rino brought back. Now Giampaolo has come in and he will continue that."

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