Pulisic Reijnders Okafor Milan GFXGetty/GOAL

Can 'Moneyball' Milan succeed in the Champions League - or is the American owners' data-based approach 'destined to fail'?

On June 6, AC Milan announced that club legend Paolo Maldini had been relieved of his duties as technical director in a 67-word statement. The news - and the manner of its delivery - sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Carlo Ancelotti was aghast.

“I learned at Real Madrid that the history of a club must always be respected," the former Milan midfielder and coach told Il Giornale. "Here, Di Stefano, Amancio, Gento, Puskas are still exclusive values towards which we have reverence. To preserve history at the highest levels, the memory of the past must be protected.

"What happened with Maldini demonstrates a lack of historical culture, of respect for the Milan tradition. While it is true that history does not make you win, it is also true that history teaches you how to win."

However, owner Gerry Cardinale has been "educated" in 'the art of winning' not by Maldini's Milan - but by Billy Beane.

"Billy's been in European football for 20 years and he told me I wasn't looking at the situation in the right way," Cardinale said of the revered baseball executive during a seminar at Michigan Institute of Technology in March. "I had to approach European football with the 'Moneyball' mentality, which says there is no need to sacrifice the level of performance on the field for cash flow or vice versa."

We'll soon find out if he's right...

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