If you have been following the blog in the past few days you will have noticed my ranting about the Club's poor handling of the Ambrosini non renewal situation. I can understand letting a guy like Flamini who has given next to nothing to the shirt walk away, but an 18 year veteran, 5 year Captain not even getting the courtesy of a yes or no is simply shameful. Time I take matters into my own hands and honor the man who I have supported since the 90's, extension or not, Massimo Ambrosini was a hero for AC Milan.
When highlighting a career people tend to look at the big picture, if you like that sort of thing here is Massimo's CV:
- Serie A (4): 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04, 2010-11
- Coppa Italia (1): 2002-03
- Supercoppa Italiana (2): 2004, 2011
- UEFA Champions League (2): 2003, 2007
- UEFA Super Cup (2): 2003, 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2007
Now many detractors will point out that he was not crucial in all those Trophies, but 344 appearances over 18 seasons is nothing to frown about. In fact he never really had much fanfare, a simple no bones central midfielder, often times deployed to shield or support Pirlo, or to sit in front of the defense. His best seasons were the sort that nobody talks about as what he does is simply a thankless job! For those who don't like big picture and remember the little things, there is plenty. 2006-2007 resonate the most with me, not having starting the season as a first choice he forced Carletto into making him a starter and rewarded him with crucial goals and one of the prettiest assists ever to Alberto Gilardino against Manchester United. It was in that season Massimo Ambrosini decided to stay at Milan hoisting the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and CL trophy. A feat only done by the likes of Maldini and Baresi before him in these colors!
It didn't end there and over the course of the next few seasons Ambrosini took over as Captain and inspirational leaders alongside the likes of Gattuso and Seedorf. He hoisted the scudetto when many thought he was finished and his no bones calm approach made him an asset amongst the sometimes madness of AC Milan with Zlatan, Cassano, Robinho and many others. Having played alongside players like Rui Costa, Maldini, Kaka, Beckham, and Cafu, few can look at back at their careers and can say they accomplished as much as Ambrosini has.
I can't give Ambrosini the send off he deserved, but I can send him off with an anecdote. In 1998 I purchased a Massimo Ambrosini jersey in Italy, to this day still not sure why. I already had a Maldini jersey and my Dugarry jersey was needed replacing, something about seeing Jordan's 23 on the Red Black of Milan and not the Bulls was to much to pass up and there I was; 15 sporting a jersey of a player few had even heard about it. I wore it everywhere, practices, pick up matches, I wanted people to see it and in turn I gained respect for Ambro. Most importantly his work ethic and his lack of complaining and always EARNING a first team spot, never crying for it. A few years ago I got into a heated discussion with a Roma fan comparing Ambro to DDR. At that time DDR had just won a World Cup (albeit with a Red Card en route, water under the bridge at this point, but worth noting) and was ready to become the next best thing since sliced bread. I merely asked for calm, reminding this stubborn Romanista that DDR needed time to develop as a player and had to earn any praise I was personally going to give him. I said that DDR may someday be great, but that point I preferred Ambro for his level headness and calm, and I don't and will never regret that statement. Someday we can put the resumes of each of this men side by side, but for now I simply say DDR has some work to do and we as Milan fans are truly going to miss another of the Legends of our youth!
Ciao Massimo, Grazie per tutti!