I can’t remember a Juventus v Milan match coming about with such a lackadaisical attitude, granted Alessio, Roberto, and myself will still cover the match, and as loyal fans many of you will still follow along. But stopping for a moment and considering how truly meaningless this match is puts a forgettable season for both camps into perspective.
The Juventus team that takes the pitch Saturday is precariously close to being the worst squad in their history. It almost seems fitting that our Milan, the same Milan that seemingly put Juve on this downward spiral only a few months ago with a tough loss at home, has a chance to put the nail in the coffin. Like any good glutton for punishment I am sure Juve fans are hoping for the worse, much as we have in the past to act as a wake-up call to management, but seeing that this is Italy and the Serie A, the match will end in a draw and not a single player will expend even a lick of energy.
It is funny to think a match a few days away already has a result, especially considering that the two coaches, Zach and Leo, are most likely spending their final 90 minutes on their respective benches. Clearly these gents really are nice guys and instead of using this last game to spite their bosses, they will most likely go out with a whimper; Zach retiring to his summer and Leo returning to Brazil. It is a shame really, and while I have been hard on Leo for not adapting as the season has worn on, he fought admirably. I am sure many of us hope he will use this last match as a chance to play youngsters and keep his old men that Lippi called upon for the Italy setup: Pirlo, Zambro, and Rino, safe and sound. But knowing Leo it will probably be the same old same old, with same tired performance, and result. At least when this one is over we can blame it on Serie A, and the old fashioned doing a favor for a friend!
Forgive my cynicism, but it has been a long tumultuous season. I probably hit every inch of the emotional spectrum from complete despair early on to false, yet extreme optimism, only to be back at hopeless yet again. A small shred of good news came in today, former Cagliari tactician Allegri may be interested in the Milan job, and if I had to pick a Coach outside of the “internal Milan system” this fella is not a bad pick. Looking beyond his record in Cagliari, he always made Cagliari a competitive team with limited resources and it could be said that his style of play had value as well. Will it happen? I don’t know, but if Milan are not going to promote the likes of Stroppa, Tassotti, or Galli, then this guy is the better choice over the likes of MVB, Rijkaard, or other foreigners who will need to endure the growing pains of Serie A and the lack of a real budget to solve problems the "easy" way, by throwing money at it!
I would like to end by sending my condolences to Ronaldinho Fans, err Milan fans, Ronaldinho fans…what are you lot anyway?! Despite his valiant and seemingly best effort he has been left off Dunga’s provisional 30 man roster. While many of you are shocked and surprised, for others it is merely affirmation of previously held beliefs. Dunga is a tactician, he prefers order and organization over fantasy, and he prefers discipline over lack thereof, both on and off the pitch. If you believe Dinho should be able to get away with not tackling or working hard off the ball, then let this decision by Dunga be a reminder that this mentality is not the mark of a “champion” and should not and will not be tolerated by Country or Club. What makes matter worse, for me, is Ronaldinho, who has arguably regressed as his chances for a call up diminished, now has little left to prove and play for; making it all the harder to justify his place in the team, let alone play a system to accommodate him on the pitch! His effort early on was valiant and MUST BE APPLAUDED, but in the end he couldn’t show Milan fans or Dunga what they really craved, HARD WORK.
Congratulations to Tiago Silva, if anyone on this team has earned a trip to the WC, it is our new CB. I often forget to shower him with praise because he is after all a CB, but he should be a model of players like Onyewu, Astori, Albertazzi, and any other potential future Milan CB in which to emulate and partner with. Silva had Nesta, there couldn’t be a better teacher, but now he has to pass along his knowledge as well. Best of luck to all the Rossoneri going to the WC, be it legacy selections or hard earned places, I have to admit it pains me knowing that a team that once boasted the most players of any Club team at the WC has been reduced to next to nothing, and hopefully that issue is resolved in the near future. See you Saturday for the last match and the summer that ensues…