AC MILAN have to move on despite parting ways with the great legend.
When the news spread at close of the 2010-11 campaign that Andrea Pirlo was not going to be at Milan for another season, fans were shocked. Rossoneri fans understand what an instrumental player Pirlo has been for Milan over his 10 year stay at the club. He has given Milan its identity in terms of playing style, everything used to go through him he was an undeniable starter for the team.
But somewhere in the middle of the 2010-11 season everything changed, he was no longer a permanent starter and Milan seemed to be able to function just fine without his presence on the field. In fact the Milan midfield seemed much more solid, yes they did not have the same fluency but they got the job done.
No one can doubt the class Pirlo possesses but over the years it was his legs that just did not seem to be able to deliver. He seemed on occasions easily ran over by opponents, which is also due to the fact that Gattuso was no longer able to cover for him, but none the less he never looked the same after the 2007 Champions League win. His defensive capabilities and mobility seemed to deteriorate as he became unable to cover for his defenders or even pressure opponents when they are on the ball.
Enter Van Bommel a completely different player than what Pirlo is, he is a destroyer breaks down opposition plays and keeps it simple with his passing. That was when Milan had a taste of what life can be like after Pirlo, no longer was there a player that needed the ball at his feet every other pass. All of a sudden Milan’s midfield seemed more mobile with the ability to cover for their defense and pressure for the ball. That is when Milan’s management realized that it was possible to part company with a player that has been a symbol for club, but they understood that keeping Van Bommel at the club is a priority they had to address, hence the contract extension.
It was in the 2009-10 season, when Milan faced Manchester United in the Champions League that Milan’s dependency on Pirlo appeared to be more harmful than helpful. Sir Alex Ferguson’s plan was to just mark Pirlo out of the game and that’s what he did. Milan seemed unable to function as Pirlo struggled for space and time on the ball and it lead to Milan losing both legs, the second of which was in an embarrassing fashion.
Do not get this writer wrong, I am a huge fan of Pirlo’s in all honesty he is my favorite player of all time. He is a Milan legend and Milan will be forever great-full for his loyalty and fantastic play. But the choice had to be made and it should prove to be a fruitful one for Milan as life after Pirlo looks rather bright.