THE OFFICIAL confirmation of the sacking of Allegri came on Monday after yesterday’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of Domenico Berardi and Sassuolo. And Milan fans took to various social networks to rejoice at the happy occasion. Finally, Allegri, the most hated man in Milan, is no longer managing his club.
But is it really such a joyous occasion? I am not saying that Allegri should have stayed on even after this season, but is it right to trash him as much as fans do? I understand I will catch a lot of heat for this, but what will be said needs to be said.
Allegri came in as the replacement for Leonardo on the Milan bench. Inheriting an aging squad, Allegri nonetheless got the best out of his players. Milan finished that season in 1st place, beating out city rivals Inter by 6 points, winning their first Serie A title since 03′-04′.
Allegri also brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the summer on a loan. This was also arguably Pato’s and and Robinho’s best season, with the two scoring 16 and 15 goals, respectively. Allegri took a squad filled with a lot of senators, and drilled them into a title-winning team. Sure he made some mistakes: namely the expulsion of Andrea Pirlo. But to be honest, it’s not Allegri’s fault. Looking at the stats, from 17 matches, Pirlo only managed to produce one goal and three assists. Allegri thought he was done, hell, most people thought he was done. Of course, looking back releasing Pirlo was not the best of moves, but who could have predicted such a revival would happen?
His next season was a bit worse, but still, Allegri guided Milan to a second-place finish in Serie A, and to Champions League. The squad of 2011-12 still had most of the senators, but also had young players starting to break out. Mattio De Sciglio got his first handful of matches, while Stephan El Shaarawy played 28 times for the Rossoneri. In Champions League, Allegri guided Milan to the quarter finals, where Milan controversially lost out to Barcelona away 3-1.
Last season was a miracle of miracles. In the summer of 2012, most of the older players, with the exceptions of Bonera, Ambrosini, Yepes, and Abbiati, were all either retired or released. Gattuso went to Sion, Seedorf to Botafogo, etc. Also offloaded were duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG for around €65 million, a tidy sum. Brought in were Giampaolo Pazzini in a Cassano + €7 million swap. This was a deal that I myself can say I was skeptical about, but was quickly proven wrong with Pazzo’s hat-trick on his 2nd appearance. After 30 games, many of them subs, Pazzini finished with 15 goals in 30 matches, a fairly impressive feat. But overshadowing Pazzini were the amazing breakouts of Mattio De Sciglio at fullback and El Shaarawy on the wing. After the first few Serie A matches, Milan sat in relegation, and the beginning of the Allegri hatred was starting. But El Shaarawy, with Allegri’s faith, went on to single-handedly carry Milan half of a season, scoring 16 goals before January. In January, two very important things happened. Often-injured striker Alexandre Pato was shipped to Corinthians, and fiery striker Mario Balotelli was brought in for Manchester City using the funds from the Pato sale. Balo, as you know, went on a rampage, scoring 12 goals in 13 matches and clinching Champions League football.
This season has been a disaster. Milan are in 11th place, 30 points off of Juventus. There will be no Champions League next season for Milan. And Allegri has been the go to guy for hate, not only because of results, but because of some of his eccentric choices regarding players. Yes, I agree that playing midfielders at wingback and playing Constant at all were not the smartest things to do. But I believe he genuinely thought it through and thought that it would work.
In any case, Allegri was forced to work with squads containing players that wouldn’t even be able to get jobs as ballboys during the grande Milan era. If you look at the players in the squad right now, barring De Jong and possibly (key word possibly) Balotelli, no other player would see the pitch had they been in the squad of, say, the 2007 CL winning team. Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Balo, and De Jong were the best players Milan have had during Allegri’s reign. Everybody else is quite a few steps behind.
As for not playing players who fans think should be played? Do you really think you know better than Milan’s coaching staff? Do you see El Shaarawy and Saponara train every day? So tell me how you are 100% that playing one or the other will solve all of Milan’s problems.
Allegri’s stats and honours also do not give the impression of the horrible coach Milan seem to have in mind:
2007-2008- Panchina d’Oro Prima Divisione
2007-2008- Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench for best Serie A coach)
2010-2011- Serie A, Supercoppa Italia, Serie A Coach of the Year
Overall- 1.92 ppg, 51% wins (2nd best stats for a coach in Berlusconi era)
Yes, you read correctly. Allegri has 3 coach of the year awards sitting on his fireplace. He also is the 2nd best coach that Berlusconi has employed.
So say what you want about him, he did well as a coach. I know this turned into a rant rather than the structured article I hoped for, but I am tired of seeing countless mindless fans drag Allegri’s name through the dirt without stopping to think about the whole story.
Say what you want of me, but I respect him for what he has done and I wish him the best on his journey in football, I wish him success, wherever he goes, and I wish that at his next club, he gets more fan respect than at Milan.
Ciao, and grazie, Mr. Allegri.
Follow me on twitter @daniel_gutman so we can chat, and check out my site at inoffthecrossbar.com