It has really been a surreal few day as a Rossoneri and a football fan. In the span of a week the EPL and Serie A had sold their biggest stars, and fans of both clubs are left sitting and waiting for what the future may hold. My intial reaction was how on Earth can anyone stop Real Madrid, followed shortly thereafter by who on Earth is going to buy all those Dutchmen, and then finally who is going to play defense for that club?!!? Does it matter!?!?! So as I wonder if Carletto and his new Blues can compete with La Liga for the CL, I have a terrible sinking feeling regarding Milan’s chances in this new global order.
I have been relatively silent on Leonardo because frankly his appointment has left me very indifferent, I don’t hate him, but I certainly don’t like him. For a club who has been touted as a family, loyal, and rewarding of its elder statesman, I was baffled that this job didn’t land in the hands of tenured players like Baresi, Tassotti, Donadoni, or hell even Costacurta, who at least has his coaching certs! I guess the fact of the matter is that the new family orientated and loyal Milan only applies if you are from Brazil, or gave very little to the club if anything. Does that mean Milan can bring Rui Costa in as the next coach, or Oliver Bierhoff? My other point of contention was this love fest that Nardo (FYI my plan is to use Nardo in negative connotation and Leo in positive, we shall see how that works out.) shared with Fester on Maldini’s last match day. Fester should have been solemnly touting his outgoing Captain and Coach and instead all that was spewing out of his mouth was how great Nardo was, and that the only time he cried for a player, was him…blasphemy asshole, blasphemy. I remember him being injured A LOT, and I don’t remember him doing much on the pitch either…as you can see I am still befuddled.
What makes me all the more upset is the complete loss of identity of AC Milan. Yes many of us were sick of the XMAS tree, me included, but that damn formation provided results. We also knew damn well that Carletto was all for two strikers if Borriello hadn’t gotten hurt, and now we are left with a guy who hasn’t even opened his mouth about tactis other than throwing out the potential for a 4-3-3. Nardo, you are not Pep Guardiola, there will be no Guardiola effect, and playing a 4-3-3 in Italy with this team will likely get you canned faster than the ever famous Oscar Washington Tabarez. Milan is not Barcelona, they lack the pace, skill, and players to play that way or that style, and I am not implying that Milan will want to play that way, but this whole be like Pep, be like Barca trend is wearing thin on me. What’s next are they going to promote Dida or Clarence the minute they retire in an effort to channel some of the young coach magic!? Pep worked extensively with the Barca youth setup, played under great coaches, and had a profound effect on Barca and Cataluña as a whole, Nardo has done none of that. So forget those comparisons right away. My greatest concern with our lack of tactical identity is the fact that no one will want to come to Milan. How can you attract a guy like Eto, Adebayor or Dzeko when they don’t know if the will be alone, with a partner, or in a group of a three!? Will a wingback like Criscito want to come to Milan if they are employing a 4-3-3 with stay at home backs? As you can see the scenarios and questions are numerous, and the answers are still quite a ways off.
On the brighter side, I am willing to give Leo a chance, despite not being my first choice, or really even my last, he does have a keen eye for talent, and hopefully he can attract some solid youngsters to the team. My preference will always be to do so on the boot because Milan is and always has been home to some of the best Italian players. Alarmingly that trend is no longer the case, though I would never have believed Milan would lose a Brazilian under Leonardo, and would never expect Pato to go now that he is Coach, but stranger things have happened. My biggest fear is losing both Pirlo and Rino to Chelsea which would leave the Rossoneri presence on the National Team to almost nothing, a feat that really has not happened in my lifetime, and leaves me feeling pretty bad when I think about it.
As you can tell my mood is a blend of disbelief and discouragement. I had written a season recap with player grades that will eventually see the light of day, but at this point all I can really do is sit and wait for something to happen. I feel like recapping this season is almost like recapping Milan as I know, and by doing so I will put a finality on it that I don’t believe I am ready for. I will say that I wish the best of luck to Pirlo, Rino, and Zambro as they make their way to the Confederations Cup. The US game is a treat for any Italian-American and a bit of retribution for the lost to Brazil earlier in the year would be nice, but the special game for me will be Egypt. Egypt beat an Ivory Coast team in last year’s African Cup of Nations that looked unstoppable, curios to see these guys in action. I look forward to reading all your thoughts on Leonardo and what we can expect and will recap the season when I am ready to put a stamp on Milan as many of us once knew it.