I was his biggest critic, never giving him a chance or the praise. Maybe I was wrong? Maybe I was right? I will say, it sure makes moments like these even sweeter...
Giancarlo Rinaldi of Football Italia speaks on the issue...
It’s amazing what the proximity of a World Cup can do. A number of stars who seemed to be in a slumber have awoken from their soccer snoozing. In the process, they have given Serie A followers a slender chance of seeing something rarely witnessed in recent times – a serious challenge to Inter.
Prime mover in this mini-revolution has been Milan’s resurgent Ronaldinho. The approach of a major tournament, combined with the Leonardo treatment, appears to have reinvigorated the Brazilian. He may not yet have scaled the heights of a few years ago but at least the signs are encouraging. Dinho seems to be falling back in love with the game.
He is being ably assisted by another man harbouring dreams of South Africa. Marco Borriello has gone through the injury grinder of late but he seems to have emerged from the other side. His strike to help sink Siena had the faintest echo of another, more distinguished Rossonero forward, Marco Van Basten. He will never be the player the Dutchman was, but at least he is back banging in the goals.
The Milan revival will face its acid test next week in the derby but they have to believe they can emerge victorious. Recent evidence on Inter has been pretty conclusive – the champions are struggling. Only their fighter’s instinct has seen them avoid defeat against Siena and Bari in the past two rounds of games. It has taken all of Jose Mourinho’s tactical acumen, and a dose of good fortune, to bring them four points instead of none.
It seems the Mondiali effect is also having an impact in Rome. Big Luca Toni has been kicking his heels in Munich for a few months and is desperate to defend the title he helped Marcello Lippi win. A nice by-product has been that the Giallorossi have emerged into Champions League contenders, if not a little more.
Their form will be watched jealously by Juventini. With every passing week the decision to ditch Claudio Ranieri for Ciro Ferrara looks more and more suspect. Somebody at Bianconero HQ will have a lot of explaining to do if Roma finish closer to the Scudetto than the Turin giants do.
It was also a weekend of hope for some of the struggling sides. Cristiano Doni helped Atalanta crush the recently resurgent Lazio, while a smash and grab raid by Bologna in Florence helped them record their first Serie A win in the Renaissance City for the best part of three decades. It was a result which simply confirmed that nothing at all can be taken for granted in Italy this year – not even that Inter will win the title.
It is safe to say I told you so...but don't let me down when I, when WE, when the ROSSONERI NEED YOU THE MOST!! It is DERBY TIME!!