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Rossoneri in South Africa

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I have been procrastinating on this post because quite frankly I am embarrassed at the lack of Rossoneri players at the World Cup. I can’t remember the last time so few players on the roster were not representing their countries on the global stage. Milan has always carried a pedigree second to Juventus for populating the Italian national team and even the strainieri in the ranks were among the best for their country. Oh how the mighty have fallen, our over the hill roster and the ability to squander the promise in players like Flamini and Pato has left us with a reasonably full squad to tour the US , not little to show in South Africa. I want to take a minute to profile the few, but forgive me in advance for my lack of pride on the selections.

Silva (Brazil) – Milan’s best player on the season by a landslide, he actually earned his place on Dunga’s squad, but can he earn a spot alongside Lucio is the real question. Speed, comfort on the ball, and a propensity for the big tackle remind me of the great Marcel Desailly. Thankfully his youth should make him a feature player in 2014 in front of home fans, but for now he deserves credit for his call-up.

KJH (Holland) – Personally this looks more like a call-up on potential and history than anything else. The Dutchmen did little to earn his trip, and his lack of playing time will most likely make him a bench option instead of starter on a team with a potent attack. He could get and he could score, but his lack of match fitness may prove costly. The best case scenario is he shows of some of the talent of his Eredivise days and finds a suitor outside of Milan, because the Italian game was not friendly to this immobile target man.

Adiyiah (Ghana) – the Milan mystery man has earned a call-up most likely from his youth team performances. I couldn’t say a word about him though because I have never even seen him play outside of a few appearances in the U20 World Cup. He may not even a be a Milan player by the end of the transfer window, so watch closely if he gets any minutes, I am sure we are all curious.

Gooch (USA) – Onyewu made headlines deciding to continue at Milan without pay. He knows the value of playing for such a Club and will most likely work his ass off to prove his worth. His injury derailed what could have been a special World Cup for the man who means so much to the American backline. Quick, powerful, and strong on the tackle, his decision making can improve, but for those who have actually taken a minute to watch him play before opening their mouths can see talent, despite it being a bit raw still. If he can get fit in time he will be a fixture in the US backline.

Rino (Italy) – His value on the field is declining, but his value off it has not. A mascot and leader he was in instrumental in supporting Pirlo in the 2006 victory and while most Milan fans agree he probably shouldn’t start for Italy; Lippi may surprise us all over again. His veteran leadership could be an asset off the bench if Italy could find themselves a lead in the tournament.

Zambro (Italy) – As I watched him get torched at RB by Mexico’s Carlos Vela, and then again at LB by Switzerland’s Valon Behrami in the captain’s armband no less. One has to wonder how long before Lippi and Zambrotta realize the lie they are living. If Zambro starts Italy will have some serious issues dealing with the pace of Paraguay, hopefully Zambro gets the hint and quits while he is ahead.

Pirlo (Italy) – Say what you want about the maestro in the middle, he always finds a way to save his best for the Italy blue. His injury may very well keep him out of the group stages and if Italy keeps up the same pace they have in these friendlies, Pirlo will not even get a chance in the knockouts. Lippi does always find a way to use him in ways that suit him best, but can he operate with the likes of DDR and Marchisio instead of hard DM’s like Rino and Palombo…we may not even get the chance to find out.