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The Inconvenient Truth

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My ridiculous schedule and an old fashioned case of writers block have made this blog a bit of a downer lately for both you and me. I am currently taking a coaching certification module, half way through at the moment, to prepare me for my new coaching job come the fall, so finding the time has not been easy, but more troubling has been finding the words. As I read news stories, rumors, and comments I still can’t seem to find a comfort level with this squad. I cannot for one, accept it as it is and move forward or two completely disregard it, consider the season a wash and move on. Frankly I am on the fence, and my mood and posts most likely reflect that.

I am not optimistic yet. In fact far from it, the way I see things right now we are lacking in defense, a playmaker, and the addition of KJH doesn’t really excite me all that much. I apologize for not welcoming him with fanfare and open arms, but I will do what I do with all new players wait patiently for them to prove themselves because as of this point they have a clean slate with me. To borrow an old phrase for my services, “Average until proven talented” is how I will end this one for both KJH and the rest of this squad…only time will tell how I will truly feel in the end…

I did however get a chance to do some really interesting research regarding an always hot topic here. I was rather curious as to how valuable Brazilians really have been to the Rossoneri cause and began researching successful Milan teams of the past and the stranieri who took the pitch for these teams. As many of you know I am Italian, I prefer Italian players on my Italian team, and others may not feel the same in the end, but the results are interesting when we do in fact mix in some stranieri.

Brazilians as a whole have made 1,417 appearances’ in the Red and Black. This list includes the likes of Dinho, Kaka, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Leonardo, Pato, Altafini (who some consider Italian/oriundi, but I grouped in for the sake of argument), Serginho, Dida, Cafu and many more. From the list itself you can easily see that we have had some class Brazilians. Kaka winning a golden ball and Cafu, Serginho, and Dida also achieving both CL and Scudetto success; success which can be defined as, winning silverware, these boys were the cream of the crop. Sadly however their success was short lived and the recent scudetto and 07 CL were really the only trophies ever won by Milan with a Brazilian featured player, Kaka. The 03 CL saw Cafu on the pitch and Rivaldo on the bench but neither player was featured in the side and Kaka had yet to truly break onto the main stage.

To go with all the appearances Brazilians have netted 258 goals with Altafini leading the charge with 161, Kaka in second with 95. Oddly enough Serginho leads the list of appearances with the majority of the Brazilian dominance being in the new millennium. I then took these stats and stacked them up to other stranieri who have graced the club, notably the flying Dutchman, Sheva, and Bierhoff who all had impressive records with the club. When stacked up side by side with the Brazilians there truly is no match. In terms of silverware and success the Invincibles are the benchmark for any Club and that team had ZERO Brazilians on roster. Even more interesting was that foreign players such as Sheva, Bierhoff, Boban, and Savicevic (note I did not include the Dutchman) scored more goals per appearance and with more frequency than their Brazilian counterparts. Some of you may even claim that Brazilians on the club included defenders and keepers, but a simple counter to that was that some of the Brazilians on the club were also the most prolific scorers of the time such as Rivaldo and Ronaldo.

I am not going to sit here and pretend that stats can or can’t be manipulated to prove a point. But I will say that if you want to take the most successful Milan we all know and remember then you immediately stop on the squad of the early 90’s and that roster says it all. Can we win Brazilians, sure we can! Has it been as automatic as many of you are led to believe, or parade around the site? By all means no! But the inconvenient truth for many of you here is that if a Brazilian or a Ukrainian, German, Croatian walked up to the gates of Milanello looking for work, Fester should take the Eastern Bloc boy because the results speak for themselves…