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Dida turned his old fan into Milan’s new idol

The last time they played in a Champions League final, in 2007, Milan had faith in Dida that perhaps he would not concede absurd goals that would see him off against weaker opponents and the certainty that he could count on one miracle or another. Under the sun to stop the most powerful attacks on the planet.

Sixteen years have passed since then, and the Brazilian can say once again that he was instrumental in building the Rossoneri’s continental success.

Dida has retired since the end of 2015, and he will not be on the field in the derby match against Inter Milan, today, starting at 4 pm (Brasilia time), which begins to determine the Italian qualifier for this edition of the Champions League. But his legacy will be preserved by a longtime fan turned co-worker.

Milan’s goal scorer since 2021, Frenchman Mike Maignan has never hidden from anyone that he has always considered the Brazilian one of his biggest influences in the position and that the opportunity to work with him was one of the most important factors in his decision to change. night to Italy.

For an entire season, the Rossoneri’s No. 16 player was trained every day by his old idol. Last June, Dida resigned as goalkeeper coach at the club. But the work of training a new ‘world-class’ goalkeeper to shine at the San Siro has already been completed.

“Mike is as focused as I am. He’s arrived at the San Siro mentally ready to hit the field. During the warm-up, he just needs a moment to get a feel for what’s in store for him. He’s a goalkeeper with strong reflexes and strength,” Dida said, in January, to the Italian championship’s official channel. On YouTube “who always gives 100% in trainings and games”.

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Menan arrived at Milan with a great mission: to replace Gianluigi Donnarumma, the club’s main revelation in recent decades who had given up the idea of ​​building his entire career at the Italian giants to wear the colors (and earn a lot of money) of Paris Saint-Germain.

Already in the first season, he won the award for best goalkeeper in Serie A and helped the club end an eleven-year fast without winning the national title. Now in the second, he shines at the right time (as in the penalty saved in the quarter-final against Napoli) to make the Rossoneri great again in the Champions League.

At the same time that he shines in the Milan jersey, Mignan is also enjoying success in the French national team.

Even without playing in the 2022 Cup (he was injured), coach Didier Deschamps selected him to replace Hugo Lloris as the new goalkeeper for Les Bleue after the tournament in Qatar, which marked the farewell of the second world captain. championship.

This is the second Champions League semi-final between two teams from Milan. In 2003, there were two draws, one goalless and the other 1-1, and Milan ended up advancing to a decision with Juventus on the basis of away goals (even though the two matches were played in the same city and at the same stadium).

Two years later, the arch-rivals also met in the knockout stage of the Continental Championship, but in an earlier round, the quarter-finals. Once again, the Rossoneri won, but with two wins they added a total score of 3-0.

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The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League semi-finalists have taken to the field with no fewer than 24 trophies. Real Madrid, the current champions, is also the biggest winner, with 14 achievements. Milan appears next, with seven cups, while Inter lifted the cup on three occasions. Of the live teams this season, only Manchester City can still dream of being the first.

Real’s successor will be known as the best team in Europe on June 10. The final match stage will be the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, in Istanbul (Turkey), originally chosen to host the 2021 Resolution, which had to be moved to Portugal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.