January 27, 2023

Ex-Nigeria international, Taribo West, has opened up on his unsuccessful spell at AC Milan during his professional career.
West went across town in 2000 when he switched to AC Milan from Inter, where he had spent two years and won the then UEFA Cup.

In a surprise move, the former Auxerre defender joined the city rivals during the 2000 winter and made his debut on March 24 when he came on as a late substitute for Andriy Shevchenko in a 2-0 win over Juventus.
He scored his only goal for the club in a 4-0 victory over Udinese. However, Taribo did not last at the club, spending just one season and making five appearances.
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Speaking on Brila FM programme, ‘No Holds Barred’, on Tuesday, the 48-year-old alleged that Italians schemed him out of the red and black side of the Milan clubs after he benched ‘golden boy’ Paulo Maldini.
The former central defender disclosed that he was brought to the club by then owner, Silvio Berlusconi, and added that the coach at the time, Alberto Zaccheroni, was indifferent about his signing.
He lamented that the coach asked him to play in the left-back position, which he was not familiar with, but still managed to start in matches ahead of Maldini.
“The team was built around Costacurta, Albertini, Ambrozini, and when I went to the club, it was not that any coach influenced my signing, it was Berlusconi himself who brought me, but the man was far. The coach then Zaccheroni, was neutral”, West said.
“He asked me to play in the left-full back, and that was not my normal position. Yet, I played Maldini out the position, so it became a rivalry problem. So Maldini came to meet me at the dressing room and asked if I’ve played in the position before. I told him I’m an utility player and will play in any position. The five matches I played, I won man-of-the-match performance four times.
“And you don’t try that in Italy, because the national team is built around Maldini and then you, a foreigner, come to kick Maldini out of his position in the club”.
The Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold medalist in football said he did not know what was going on until Inter president explained the situation to him.
“How did I know that? I went to meet my former president at Inter Milan, we sat and were talking, and he said: ‘Taribo, What you are doing, you are out of your head’. Quote me anywhere, that was what he said. ‘What you are doing, they don’t do it here, they will take you away’. He told me face-to-face”, West said.
According to him, Milan came up with lies that he had a heart problem which would not enable him play football again.
“From there, they came up with a programme that I had a heart problem, I can’t play football again, conspiracy and all that,” the silver-winning player at 2000 AFCON averred.
By Femi Ashaolu
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