In the final part of this 3-part series, we will take a look at how the forwards and manager Stefano Pioli faired for AC Milan in the 2020/2021 season. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Zlatan is a tough one to grade for this year. When he was on the pitch, he was great and vital to this team. His presence in the team is easy to see as he is a true leader on the pitch guiding the team in every aspect. Not to mention that tactically he gives Milan flexibility where he could drop back at any instant. However, Zlatan wasn’t on the field all the time and injuries started to have an impact on his body. With being injured so much he still finished with almost 20 goal contributions. 7/10
Rafael Leao: At the start of the season Rafael Leao was hot, playing both as a winger and centre forward. When played on the wing Leao contributed with sublime assists and when played as a forward he came up with a goal to help the team. As the season went on Leao dropped in form but had the occasional spark. I expected more from Leao for his second season in Italy and I expected him to work harder than he did. Next season may be a make-or-break for Rafa. 5.7/10
Daniel Maldini: Maldini didn’t get any game time during the season, and I believe he should have been loaned out for him to get at least some experience. N/A
Mario Mandzukic: Brought in during the January transfer window, Maldini and co believed that Mandzukic could be a good fit to backup Ibra. However, Mandzukic was riddled with injuries and didn’t see much time on the pitch. You could say the Mandzukic signing was a big failure. 4/10
Ante Rebic: Just like last season Ante didn’t have a great first half to the season but during the second half he was rock solid and showed up with some nice goal contributions. Rebic was played out of position for a large portion of the season so at times he didn’t look the best on the pitch. I have to Rebic credit for playing out of position and playing so hard every match. 6.5/10
Stefano Pioli: The goal for Pioli this year was clear, make the Champions League. If he did that then the season would be a success. As the Milan team would say Pioli was on fire up until the winter break. It seemed as if Milan carried all that momentum that built up from the last season into this one as they just kept winning games no matter who the opponent was. Then Milan hit a wall after coming back from the winter break. Now the team seemed more sluggish, a common trait amongst teams managed by Pioli. Milan struggled at times in the second half of the season and some fans even questioned if Pioli was the right man for the job. Pioli and company fought till the end and at the end of the year, Milan finished second and finally clinched a Champions League spot. Yes, Milan was in first for a good portion of the year but winning the title was never the goal, only Champions League was. In my opinion, Pioli did what he had to do, he should adjust for next year and improve where the team struggled. But for me, he has earned another year to prove his worth. 6.8/10