As Billy Costacurta retires on to the bench alongside Carlo Ancelotti, I started to look at all the former players that have retired only to return to roles with the club. Ancelotti is a prime example who after spending the bulk of his career at the San Siro has returned as their coach, after spells with Parma and Juventus. Galliani claims that it was only natural for him to return and to continue his 23 years of service to the club. Tassotti who sits alongside Ancelotti has only known one club, while Baresi who is coaching the youth team is the same. Former players like Albertini and Donadoni have gone into the FIGC, but there is most likely always a spot for them at the San Siro.
Then there is the group of retired players who scout talent such as Savijevic and Leonardo. Leonardo has returned for a second scout role with the club and is responsible for bringing the likes of Kaka and Pato to the San Siro. It seems like once you join the Rossoneri fray you never seem to leave, it is in your blood. The Milan brass has always been extremely respectful to their players and has always done the best by them. Just this year Milan extended the contracts of aging players like Cafu and Seedorf, players that other clubs would have jettisoned in favor of younger blood. It is hard not admit that this is one of the keys to Milan’s success in Europe, because each and every one of the players have been in that position before and now how to handle themselves. It is also hard not wonder if this will take its toll at some point, forcing young players to shy away from the Rossoneri side of the San Siro, because they will not see the significant pitch time they crave.
The other side of the fence is players like Sheva who have left the fold and have not exactly been called back with open arms, with many players voicing their opinions on his potential return both positively and negatively. Sheva turned his back on the Rossoneri and it seems like they may have finally turned their back on him. Gilardino made the same mistake, requesting a transfer, and only know has begun to ease himself back into the family. The bottom line is if you show respect to the jersey, they will in turn show respect to you. It is also important that a Milan player knows their role at the San Siro and not to become overzealous because it will not be happily received. Much akin to the New York Yankees of MLB, Milan is a family, but also a business and you work within that business, there is a club first attitude and first class demeanor season in and season out no matter the players.
Like Maldini once said, "When a player plays for Milan, he does so for life." It is a very powerful quote out of the talisman captain of Milan who has never once been a part of any other club. The real question is what role will Maldini fill when he finally retires; coach, scout, president. The only person that knows that is Maldini, and as of right now he has already stated that only thing he can be is a footballer, because he will never receive the satisfaction from anything else. Spoken like a true captain.
**I hope my attempt at actual journalistic reporting was appreciated, instead of my constant anti-Brazilian transfer market ranting. I have been constantly reading about this Milan family topic in Calcio Italia Magazine and it is always a hot topic on the Milan Channel, hope everyone found it enjoyable.**