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Mirabelli hoping for 10 years of Gattuso at Milan

Milan’s sporting director delighted with the club’s turnaround under the former midfielder

AC Milan v FC Crotone - Serie A
Gennaro Gattuso has earned the faith of Massimiliano Mirabelli in his short stint as Milan manager.
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli has offered his support to Gennaro Gattuso, suggesting the former Milan star could manage the club for the next decade.

Gattuso, who starred for Milan as a midfielder for 13 years, has overseen a turn in fortune for the Rossoneri after a frustrating start to the season. Since his appointment, Milan have reached the Coppa Italia semifinals, closed the gap on the top six in Serie A and rounded into form ahead of the Europa League knockout stage.

Milan struggled mightily at the start of the season after a summer of lucrative spending that saw the arrivals of Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Lucas Biglia and several other players. Those struggles resulted in the sacking of Vincenzo Montella in November. Gattuso, who returned to Milan in May 2017, was promoted to the first team from his role as Primavera coach.

“I hope that he can remain our coach for the next 10 years and not just for this season or the next,” Mirabelli said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.

“We’ve not achieved anything yet,” Mirabelli said, “but the team is playing more and more like a team, they can hold their own against anybody, and are battling it out on three fronts.”

Gattuso’s managerial career has been a mixed bag at lower levels. After short stints with FC Sion, Palermo and OFI Crete, he found some success at Pisa. The club were promoted to Serie B for the 2016-17 season.

Pisa were relegated back to Lega Pro after 2016-17, despite having the best defensive record in Serie B, with only 36 goals against.

Mirabelli credits some of Gattuso’s success to his passion for Milan and his role in the club’s success early in the 21st century. Gattuso played 468 matches for Milan between 1999 and 2012, winning 10 titles, including both Serie A and the Champions League twice, leading to his induction into the AC Milan Hall of Fame.

“Gattuso’s ‘Milanism’ is very deeply rooted, and he has managed to reunite the environment in an extraordinary manner,” Mirabelli said. “Who could have done it better than he?”