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Finding Milan

Call me what you want once you have read this post, maybe a xenophobe, but you can’t deny the simple facts and the facts are as follows: AC Milan has won seven champions league titles and 17 Serie A titles, all of them with an Italian in charge. As if that was not enough, every single one of those silverware winning teams had eight Italian players or more as regular starters. So please excuse me if I often say that I hold no qualms that the Rossoneri, and Italian team, playing in Italy needs to be a bit more a Italian. But it is not merely about just being "more Italian" it is about finding Milan’s proverbial soul and going back to the heritage that made this Club so special for Italians and the foreigners brought on board to make the Club a success. I can’t deny the contributions of Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Boban, Dejan, Weah, Serginho, Desailly, Kaka, Sheva and Cafu, but what made those players such legends was their integration into the core of AC Milan, a core that has long since been lost and forgotten.

My apologies if I offend fans from outside of Italy, that is not the intention, you deserve to support this Club as much as anyone, many of you even more than the Ultra’s who spoiled Maldini’s last game, but the reason you are a Milan tifosi is because of the identity that this Club once possessed. A few weeks back when the Primavera won the TIM Cup, I was ecstatic, sure I was happy for the boys, but I was happier for the simple fact that the last time a Milan team won that trophy it contained a core of players that would bring the greatest success this team has ever seen; led by a man who is arguably the greatest tactician Italy has ever produced in, Fabio Cappello. With that win came hope, that maybe, just maybe Milan was not as bad as the current roster reflects; maybe we are not so lost and confused. So a few days ago when I called for Leo’s head, I did so not only out of frustration, but with the realization that Leo could never succeed…

The point here is clear, but to further define where I am going with this, I have to explain my own vision for the future, a future built from the Primavera. Promote Stroppa to first team boss, in the same way Cappello took over Sacchi, and while Sacchi left Cappello with a true “Team of Champions,” Stroppa’s job will not be as easy. Tassotti should remain as number two, but in Stroppa we have a man who the young Rossoneri believe in and trust, and with the idea that he will reward their trust with more of the same. Once the baton of management has been passed, so too will the baton on the pitch. It is within reason to imagine a Milan team built with a Rossoneri core and more importantly an Italian core. I have grown tired and frustrated with Milan fans saying irrational things like this youngster is not “World Class” a term I still to plan define as the World Cup draws near, or worse I see Milan fans saying young Italian players like Nocerino, Giovinco, Rossi and Bonucci are not good enough to play for Milan while these players run (or could run) our current team ragged (they have!). THIS MUST STOP! In order to build for the future, we have to have patience and faith that the players we have or possibly acquire are good enough to build around. Imagine if these same ridiculous words were uttered when people spoke of Rino, Maldini, Costacurta, Ambro, and Baresi!!?!?

My vision for next season is simple, a lineup consisting of youth at its core, and a bench with depth and experience to aid the youngsters in the road ahead. Abbiati, Antonini, Astori, Silva, DeVito, Abate, Pirlo, Flamini, Verdi, Borriello, Pato with the likes of Albertazzi, Strasser, Ambrosini, Rino, Nesta, Ronaldinho, and Pippo on the bench ready to lend a hand when a games gets chippy, becomes a tactical challenge, or when the Mister can use a little guile in place of exuberant youth. We saw firsthand against Palermo, only a few days ago, that we can certainly die by the hand of the old and fragile, they have no emotion or intensity, and that is no longer good enough. A team with pace, strong work-rate, and unity can win on any day, and while it may be not be “joga bonito” or “barca style” it can yield results, and results are what wins trophies! When a team plays for the Club and for each other they become difficult to beat, and with this order can be restored for Milan. I can’t say it will happen overnight, but in the eyes of management it will at least be cost effective, and in time will bring rewards of players growing up in the Club and a new crop wanting to play for AC Milan as it was in the past, and then for the third time in my life as fan of the Rossoneri, I/WE can once again Find Milan!