In less than three days, the new season kicks-off and AC Milan will meet Siena away of San Siro, the only place they earned a win in pre-season. Meytar Zeevi talks about AC Milan odd summer before the new football year began at Italy
It been a very poor summer for AC Milan – with ten matches in the offseason campaign, Milan won only one time: On Monday night against Juventus, when the Rossoneri lifted the Berlusconi Trophy after finally earn the second win in pre-season, penalty shootouts win after 1-1 draw in 90 minutes, but still a win. That supposes to give Milan some morale boost ahead of the new season.
Furthermore, the transfer market, the fans fought for more signing and this is what they got: Kaka leaving to Real Madrid without any protest of the fans due to the fact Kaka was at Brazil when the deal signed up. Despite the big sale, Milan found it difficult to bring any good player to San Siro, when they’re more than £30m in their pocket. Kaka sale was there only to cover the damages season 2007/2008 caused, but the money left in peace standing by.
The departure of Paolo Maldini and Carlo Ancelotti hurt a lot in the club’s spirit who felt secure when Maldini was around, and were defiantly mesmerized to Ancelotti’s charisma. With Leonardo in the lines and lack of great leader in the team, Milan will open the new season, waiting for a saver, although they’ve targeted the Scudetto, and believe Milan can win also the Champions League, which I don’t believe possible this year.
Okay, let’s take a look at eight years ago, season 2001/2002, Carlo Ancelotti’s first season: Terim got fired, and Juventus coach, Ancelotti, taking the reins of the club. Half of the players Milan have today, brought in Ancelotti’s first year. Also the new ones like Alexandre Pato arrived to Milan thanks to Ancelotti’s work.
From the other hand, we have Leonardo, we do can say that the financial condition then and now is complete different, Berlusconi was less involved in politics and had more time for the team. Kaka’s sell, which was brilliant in my opinion, opened Milan more options – the lack of participation in Uefa Champions League made Milan to collect huge debts that paid due to Real Madrid’s money that bought Kaka. However, it supposed to bring money for investment as well, this thing almost didn’t take place.
So, the central defenders position clear – with Thiago Silva and Oguchi Onyewu now in the team, while Kaladze, Nesta and Bonera are not in the best form, these two signing saved Milan defense which seemed very slow and weak in the first stages of pre-season. Silva and Onyewu entered for little money, they are not big names. Milan looked for a striker after that, a one who can wake up the attack, and maybe heir Inzaghi who maybe act like a 17 years old, but he more than double than that. This search ended with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who signed over four-year contract with the Rossoneri for £13.
Positive points in the transfer market:
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar arrives.
- Thiago Silva arrives.
- Andrea Pirlo stays for life.
- Kaka left AC Milan.
The first man between the other three is Nelson Dida. Dida was a big name four years ago, was one of the best players in the world. On season 2007/2008, he had a great fall. Milan finished fifth place and Dida has a lot to do with that. There are four goalkeepers in the squad and it’s very unlikely that Dida will be the first goalkeeper. Despite working hard in the past and was national team first ‘keeper, Dida suffering from long injury and he also unlikely to open the season on the bench as his physical condition just doesn’t approves it.
Thiago Silva has done real good in pre-season. When he signed over the contract in January (couldn’t play, Fifa regulations, never minds), he said he will become the next Paolo Maldini, well, there are not too similar – Maldini Italian, Silva Brazilian, Maldini was 16 when played for Milan, Silva is 22, but the spirit is the same. The Brazilians are the stronger angle at AC Milan. Silva will lead the defense well. These are recent quotes of Milan about Thiago Silva:
Nesta: “Thiago is a very strong defender. He is physically powerful, has a great personality, and is equipped with excellent technical qualities.”
Silvio Berlusconi: “Thiago Silva is very strong, and with the return of [Alessandro] Nesta [from injury], we have the best defensive pairing in Europe. Who can be sure that we will not go back to the levels of [Paolo] Maldini and [Franco] Baresi?”
We have seen nothing yet from what Silva could do. He has plenty of potential and Milan is the right place for him.
There are way too many expectations from Ronaldinho. I’ve heard that many Brazilians lie about their age, and they two years older that what they say. I don’t really sure if it’s true, but if it does, the things are better than what we think. Dinho – the best player in the world? Maybe was the best player in the world. The 29-years-old is just like Kaka and Messi, they don’t have the same character, but people count on them. These are recent quotes of AC Milan about Ronladinho:
Gattuso: “He [Ronaldinho] is a very important player, and if he can return to his great levels of the past, then we will lift as a club.”
Massimo Ambrosini: “We have Ronaldinho and he is a great player. He is really motivated.”
Silvio Berlusconi: “Ronaldinho is the number one in the world.”
Ronaldinho is wonderful player, if he can get back to 2006 form, it would be excellent and the most successful club in the world for the last 20 years would be great again.
The best under 20-years-old player in the world is Alexnadre Pato. He’s just phenomenal, he’s fantastic, he’s everything a second striker needs. Despite he has to get more physical, the 19-years-old forward is one of the best Serie A strikers. Pato arrived to Milan on 2007, when Carlo Ancelotti bought him from Brazilian side, Internacional. The player scores a lot, now when he has the help of young, fresh and hunger to goals striker like Huntelaar, he will increase his level and be even bigger. Pato has a lot to improve, but he had shown well last season that he got the guts to play in such a league after scored more that 15 goals.
Pato was linked with Carlo Ancelotti all summer, but decided to stay with AC Milan this year. What can we add about such a great player? Forza Pato!
Leonardo is inexperienced coach, AC Milan are his first job. Unlike Juventus’s Ciro Ferrara, he doesn’t success too much and it’s just unnecessary to hang hopes at him. Leo is former AC Milan player, a good player actually, but he has a lot to improve as a manger. He did a coaches school but let’s say the experience does a lot. Leonardo targeting the Scudetto this year but Andrea Pirlo revealed on Wednesday that he and the rest of the team were skeptical about Leo appointment:
“Last season, when the rumours were flying around about him taking over, we were a little skeptical,” Pirlo said.
We all were a bit (or a lot) skeptical about this coach position. Carlo Ancelotti was terrific in what he did at Milan, but like every good thing, also that ends. Leonardo will do good (I hope), and all we need to do is cross fingers for him and for AC Milan.
The Formations And The Players
Apparently, despite the first plans were 4-3-3 tactic, with two central defenders and two wingers, Milan will actually play with the traditional 4-3-1-2 formation, like Inter and Juventus would play. This formation is the best for the Serie A, as it features strong defense, wide midfield, one attacking midfielder and two strikers when one of them is a bit closer to the net.
At Milan, it will go something like this:
Goalkeeper: Still uncertain, Abbiati or Storari, maybe even Roma. Dida has a difficult condition;
Defenders: Right back – Zambrotta. Center back – Thiago Silva and Nesta; Left back – Antonini;
Midfield: Pirlo, Gattuso and Flamini/Ambrosini;
Forwards: Ronaldinho behind Pato and Huntelaar.
Expectations Ahead The New Season
There is no much to expect; despite this is all we hear in the last time:
Pirlo: “We want to win it [the Scudetto] this season.”
Massimo Ambrosini: “Milan will never start the championship thinking that they cannot win it.”
Some also say they want Champions League first place this year. In the last five years Inter were the best team on the Serie A pitch, however this year everyone have chances, even teams who are not considered to the best three teams in Serie A like Roma or Fiorentina could lift the Serie A trophy this year. But people keep insisting Milan have no chance won win something in this period. Milan will have to work super hard in order to reach any title this year.
By Meytar Zeevi, Rossoneri Blog