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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 8: Gennaro Gattuso and Lessons in Grinta

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Chelsea v AC Milan Photo by Michael Steele/EMPICS via Getty Images

Gennaro Gattuso was the heart and soul of AC Milan for just over a decade when he guarded Milan's defence with his relentless fiery performances earning the nickname 'Rino.’ Gattuso played for Milan for thirteen years where he terrorised and brought fear into the hearts of any opponents achieving great heights such as winning two Scudetti, two Champions Leagues and the World Cup in the process.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Juventus v AC Milan Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

Gattuso became a Milan legend for his tenacity and desire on the pitch, his passion was contagious and clearly impacted the rest of the dressing room and this attitude defined Milan for over a decade. Gattuso was never known to be a very technical player but his awareness, positioning and physicality made him a defensive giant where he went toe to toe with some of the greatest attackers in the game and kept them quiet. In his debut season, he gained lots of praise for handling Ronaldo during the derby against Inter Milan in 1999 that Milan won 2-1. He would then keep Cristiano Ronaldo silent about 8 years later in the Champions League semi finals as Milan beat Manchester United. Gattuso dealt with everyone who came his way and his partnership with Andrea Pirlo was a cornerstone for Milan for years and it is quite obvious that Gattuso's sacrifice to handle all the dirty work allowed Pirlo and Seedorf to operate efficiently and without fear in the midfield. Gattuso was a true warhorse and one who never quit on his club and its fans.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 2003–04, 2010–11
  • UEFA Champions League: 2002–03, 2006–07
  • Coppa Italia: 2002–03
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2004, 2011
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Top Highlight

One of his best moments was undoubtedly scoring the winner against Juventus in the 2010-11 season where Milan would go on to win the league ahead of Inter Milan. Gattuso's defensive play is why he is remembered and his contribution in the Champions League runs cannot be understated. Watch some of his highlights here or below.