Milan has had a rich history and tradition of Captaincy in my 25 year tenure (saying that makes me feel old) as a Milan fan. What started with Baresi, passed to Maldini, and then to Ambro. Sure there were stand-ins....Sheva, Abbiati, heck even Bonera has worn the fabled band, but mystique of the Milan captaincy has certainly been lost. What was once an honor for those born and bred in Milan, it has now become a lost cause as Milan no longer has the players it once did in this regard. Sure you have Abate, DeSciglio even SeS but all of them have work to do in that regard.
I for one am a firm believer in the notion that a Captain plays at the back, who better to martial a team than a defender or GK. Now you can make an argument that a CM has the same martial-ing qualities of a CB, but there is something special about a defender in Italy that is intrinsic and can't simply be explained. At least, a CM is better than strikers as Captains who often play more for themselves than for the squad.
I don't disagree with the Montolivo choice, and would rather Abbiati until Abate was ready, but sadly I think Abate's blonde locks are telling of a player who is athletic but not intelligent! There I said it. The problem with Montolivo is the death of the lineage and tradition, and while I am a staunch traditionalist in that sense, I understand all good things end. However, it doesn't mean they can't occur again. I trust in the choice, and if Max and Paolo Maldini believe Monty is the man for the job, I support it until he proves me otherwise.
I end with anecdote...I wouldn't call myself a staunch baseball fan, I enjoy it for what it's worth, but have always supported the New York Yankees. In fact as long as I have supported Milan, the teams had many parallels I connected as a child. The stripes, the rich history, the spending, the larger than life owners and the Captains. Mattingly to Jeter, Baresi to Maldini...the Yankees have lost the mystique as well. Homegrown players tossed aside for the win now mentality, patient gone in favor of haphazard spending. It is a cycle and someday it may return, but for now I am happy I was treated to the passing of the torch.