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Rossoneri Nation Squads: AC Milan Top XI of North and South American Internationals

Our new series! A look at the best possible starting XI’s of AC Milan players based on their nationalities.

For the fourth edition of the 'Rossoneri Nation Squads’ we look at the rest of North and South America excluding Brazil and Argentina. Milan often brought in wonder kids from South America who struggled to adapt to Serie A as well as some established players such as Bacca to reinforce the team. The players on this squad are not particularly memorable and largely featured as depth players and only one of them racked up over 100 appearances for the squad. I selected a 4-5-1 formation to accommodate for the extra defenders and midfielders available. The players in this squad won the 2010 Scudetto and the 2011 and 2017 Supercoppas.

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RB: Mario Yepes (2010-13) [46 Appearances] - Colombia

Yepes was another veteran defender brought to Milan in the years following the departure on Milan’s old guard of defenders to add some depth to the squad. The Colombian was the back up to Thiago Silva throughout his first two seasons only getting starting opportunities against smaller teams. Yepes made one major contribution which Rossoneri fans might remember which was his winning goal in the infamous 4-3 comeback win against Lecce where Boateng scored a second half hat trick before Yepes headed home an 83rd minute winner.

CB: Gustavo Gomez (2016-18) [20 Appearances] - Paraguay

Gomez seems to have been the right player at the wrong time. The Paraguayan was by no means a bad defender but never inspired confidence in the management or the fans during his short spell with Milan. He was consistently overlooked for Zapata due to his perceived naivety but showed his class when he left the club and won the Brazil Serie A with Palmeiras. Gomez likely needed more time to settle at the club but was not awarded the time to grow into a good defender.

CB: Cristian Zapata (2012-19) [148 Appearances] - Colombia

Zapata was one of the longest serving centre backs since the exit of Thiago Silva in 2012 and filled the role of the stable centre back. He started games when needed and was on the bench when needed. He did not makes waves but was solid when called upon but was aware of his limitations. Zapata will be remembered for his last minute goal in the derby in 2017 to tie up the fixture and shush the Inter Milan fans. Zapata was strong and safe but was too predictable as a CB.

LB: Diego Laxalt (2018-Present) [30 Appearances] - Uruguay

Laxalt joined Milan as a potential long term solution at the left back position but the former Genoa man struggled to compete with Ricardo Rodriguez and was mostly used as a substitute to inject pace late into games. Laxalt is relatively versatile and was deployed as a left back, left winger and sometimes a left midfielder but struggled to leave an impression on the squad. Laxalt fell further down the pecking order when Milan signed Theo Hernandez and was loaned out to Torino, he has returned to the club after 6 months and could still make some impact albeit from the bench.

CDM: Oguchi Onyewu (2009-10) [1 Appearance] - United States of America

The promising centre back joined Milan from Standard Liege as an option to compete with the ageing defenders on the squad. He joined in the summer of 2009 but only managed a single appearance off the bench in the Champions League thereafter was ruled out for the rest of the season due to a devastating knee injury with his national team. Onyewu is perhaps most famous for his fist fight with teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic in November 2010 when the Swede went in for a rough tackle and Onyewu reportedly broke Zlatan’s rib. The defender never made an impact but will be remembered for leaving a year’s worth of wages when signing his extension for his time on the treatment table.

RM: Pablo Garcia (2000-01) [6 Appearances] - Uruguay

Garcia was a defensive midfielder who played at Milan for a single season early on in his career after playing with Atlético Madrid B team. Garcia was a squad player who only managed 6 appearance in his season at Milan before being loaned out to Venezia. He featured in the Champions League once but was largely excluded from the squad due to the exceptional depth for the position at the time.

CM: Matias Fernandez (2016-17) [13 Appearances] - Chile

Mati Fernandez was a shotgun decision for the 2016/17 season to add some creativity and experience to the midfield amidst Milan’s crisis. The Fiorentina man was familiar with Serie A but was not effectively deployed Vincenzo Montella hence struggled to add any flair or creativity to the squad. The midfielder suffered two injuries across the season that limited his playing time. He managed to score one goal and provide two assists winning key points for Milan but did not do enough to justify a permanent deal.

CM: Mathias Cardacio (2008-09) [2 Appearances] - Uruguay

Cardacio was brought in to Milan as part of a major summer overhaul that brought in the likes of Ronaldinho, Borriello, Flamini and Zambrotta. The Uruguayan was seen as an extremely promising central midfield prospect to grow and learn under Pirlo. He only managed two senior team appearances and three with the Primavera in his singular season before being released. He was a bright prospect but struggled to find game time given the wealth of talent available on the squad.

LM: Pablo Armero (2014-15) [8 Appearances] - Colombia

Armero joined Milan for a short period on loan due to the inability of de Sciglio to convince the coach of his ability at LB. Armero was expected to boost the attacking potential from the left wing and add some service for the strikers but left back was too unrefined to make any serious strides. Armero had blistering pace and impressive stamina but his ball control was abysmal and his crossing haphazard. He added a boost to the squad but was not technically sound enough to make the position his own.

ST: Carlos Bacca (2015-17) [77 Appearances] - Colombia

Bacca is one of the who in retrospect should have been appreciated by the Milanisti. He was the first real striker who managed to find some flow and scored in double digits over both his seasons. He netted 34 goals and provided 6 assists but received much criticism for his lack of consistency and his dry spells during the season. Bacca’s positing and finishing was exceptional but his inability to track back was a huge hindrance for a defensively vulnerable side.

Honourable Mentions: N/A

Team Strengths: Solid defensive trident, Extremely speedy left wing and clinical striker.

Team Weaknesses: Lack of chemistry and quality in the midfield, vulnerable right wing and error prone defenders.

Team Rating: 3/10 for the time at Milan and 4/10 for their career peak.


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