Conte, 46, took the Stamford Bridge reigns earlier this month, returning to club management after a spell in charge of Italy culminated in a quarter-final exit at Euro 2016.
The former Juventus midfielder has been tasked with transforming Chelsea’s fortunes after an abysmal 2015-16 campaign and Maldini, who played alongside Conte at international level for six years, is confident that he can get the job done.
“I hope that he will be successful at Chelsea but the Premier League is a different world,” Maldini told Sport360 ahead of his participation in the Abu Dhabi Summer Season.
“I think he will need to try and understand the league and to make the players understand what he wants; it’s not easy but I think he will do well there.
Conte is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most tactically astute coaches after enjoying three trophy-laden years at the Juventus helm, winning Serie A three seasons in a row.
And Maldini feels that notion was cemented by Italy’s recent European Championship campaign, as Conte took a limited side to the last eight – beating Belgium and reigning champions Spain before succumbing to Germany in a penalty shootout.
“There were a lot of problems with Italy before Euro 2016, especially because of the midfielders missing through injury,” Maldini said.
“But he didn’t seem to worry and he was proved right. As a player, he never gave up and he always wants the same from his players.”
Conte is the fifth Italian to manager Chelsea after Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti, the latter of whom Maldini played with and under at Milan. The ex-Rossoneri defender sees parallels between Ancelotti and Conte, who has similarly progressed from respected player to respected coach.
“Usually midfielders like Antonio Conte, like [Carlo] Ancelotti, like [Frank] Rijkaard – they are born to be coaches,” Maldini said.
“But to actually change your life and go from a player to a coach is a big step – you have to be ready, and Conte has always been ready.
“Since his first team in Serie B he has shown something different. He is one of the younger coaches who is going to write history in this sport.