JOHNATHAN CLANCY gives his 3 thoughts on Milan 3-0 victory over Atalanta on Monday, January 6, 2014.
In the first match of the second half of the Serie A season, Milan romped Atalanta 3-0 to give them 3 much needed points.
Milan hopes to build a run of form and emulate last season’s second half run as they charge up the league table. Here are my 3 thoughts from today’s match.
101 Goals for Capitano Kaka: Our living legend Ricky Kaka came into today’s game with 99 goals scored in Rossoneri stripes. In the 35th minute, the Rossoneri broke and Kaka put away his 100th goal off an assist from Urby Emanuelson. Kaka celebrated with a Milan jersey with his name and the number 100 commemorating his career with Milan. Kaka doubled his tally in the 65th minute.
As a fan that fell for this team largely because of Kaka’s exploits, seeing him succeed in his second stint at Milan brings a smile to my face. I have never been happier to be wrong. I did not think signing Kaka was the right move during the summer. Now I’m owning up to it. I was wrong. Signing Kaka is what this team needed. They needed a leader. They needed class. They needed someone to show them how it’s done. Perhaps this was Galliani’s plan all along.
To top it all off, Kaka was free. I’m not sure you will find a better transfer bargain out there. Many have called for him to be our Capitano. Maybe that’s the right thing, maybe not. But what we do know is Kaka is back. Right now, he is #10 on the Rossoneri scoring charts. I can’t wait to see how far he will rise up that chart.
Bryan Cristante’s debut: Coach Allegri gave young Bryan Cristante his debut start in Serie A for Milan and Cristante returned the favor with a goal in the 67th minute to cap off the scoring on the day. He settled it with his left foot, and then drove a low rocket to the far corner.
I was very excited to see Cristante in the starting 11, after it was reported that Montolivo would miss due to a minor leg injury. I was very keen to see how Cristante would perform. Rumored to be transfer listed and appeared in only 2 games this season, make no mistake about it; the pressure was really on this kid. Milan are in a difficult situation sitting mid table with injuries and suspensions up the wazoo.
Watching Cristante showed his mental capacity. He did fold under the pressure. He worked hard as the left mezz’ala in both defense and attack. Before we go off and announce him as the next Gianni Rivera, let’s remember he is only 18-years-old and this is one game. He performed well. But let’s take it one step at a time.
Cristante is another product of the Milan youth academy renaissance. Along with Mattia De Sciglio, Cristante appears to have broken the never-ending loan spell that so many from the academy over the years have experienced. This means more than just these 2 players. Seeing the youth go directly to the first team and get a chance and take means so much to future recruiting. When Milan recruit the best 15-year-olds in the world, they’ll have to compete with the world’s top youth academies. When these kids see players like De Sciglio, who has made it to the Italian national team, and Cristante make the leap directly to the first team, it makes an impression on the recruits.
These first team promotions make it easier to sign players like Hachim Mastour, our 15-year-old phenom. The academy is laying the foundations and we are seeing the fruits of our labor in Cristante and De Sciglio. Here’s to bringing back our youth academy to the top of the world.
A Clean Sheet, Finally! As a former defender myself, I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it is to watch our defense. While today was far from a well-defended game, the “0” on the opposing side’s half of the scoreboard is a great start. Adil Rami made his debut for Milan after Zapata went off with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Best of luck to his recovery. Let’s hope that Milan can build off this shutout in both the CL and Serie A.
Let me know what you think! Comment below or tweet me @ClancyJohnathan