Every once and a great while in life your patience gets rewarded. There were many here with the pitchforks and nooses ready to string and poke everyone from Management, to the Coach, and the Players. It was a tough spot, and if you surfed the internet you found that few places had any patience at all. Fire Max, we need Oil Tycoon ownership, this team won't even make the Europa League. This team was the Titanic and many were claiming those shouts from their Juventus and Barcelona colored life boats ready to sail away if and when this ship sank, well it didn't!
I admit I didn't think this turn around would happen so quickly, I thought it would take time, lot's of it. I had endured the rebuild and shake up in '97 and then again as Leo led this team blindly through a second dark age. I figured in a few years Milan would return to glory with the forethought for Financial Fair Play and some decent players and money in the bank. We may never be "BIG TIME" players in the transfer market cutting checks with Man City and PSG, but we will compete we are AC Milan after all! The beauty is what started as a whisper around Christmas time has turned into a roar and Milan have turned a corner. They look mean, hungry, clinical, lethal and I love every second of it.
Saying Balotelli was a catalyst is giving Super Mario a bit to much credit, after all he came into a team already building form and momentum. Not to mention he didn't play a single minute against Barcelona as he was cup-tied, but the real key is the confidence and belief this team now has. They have galvanized, and as I have said numerous times, you don't buy a team, you forge one and while many were jumping ship as noted above, a few stood around and watch Max hammer away under the heat and pressure to create the AC Milan we see today.
The beauty of this team, for me at least, is the new grit and determination. Never have a seen a 4-3-3 work like this one, and I quite literally mean work! The RW and LW are not standing around as they did in the Leo era, they are pinching in, filling space and pressuring the ball. The midfield is busy, the team is compact and the lack of true leaderships seems to have been masked by shear tenacity. A true show of progress comes from Montolivo, who has not only blossomed following the injury of NDJ, but has become indispensable as many believed him to be. Thought to be to slow and lacking the edge to play in front of the defense has proved critics, and myself wrong, and allowed Max to play his destroyers and support the width this team is operating with currently.
The other sign of progress is the step in form from all players, be it Flamini, Constant, Traore, or Muntari. They come in, they work hard, and they help earn results. A few months ago it was hard to find seven good players to make up the eleven, now we have 15-16 who can come in and make impact! Now we reap the rewards and without the issues of last seasons, such as injuries, it seems Milan is creating their own path. They may not win the CL, they may not win the Scudetto, but for me they have already won and the future looks bright. Time we resign Max, drop a few more pieces and continue this new path forward!