Il Diavolo’s owner Silvio Berlusconi has made it clear that he will not be selling the club despite rumoured interest from various parties. Berlusconi emphatically denied that he was contemplating selling the club and insisted that it was never about making money or profiting from the Rossoneri. He stressed that he has no intention of bringing in any new investors as part of some restructuring in his beloved club.
In the meantime, LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham’s move during the January transfer window seems to be all but confirmed. The England international had a similar stint with the club last year and he is looking for a repeat in his quest to guarantee a spot on England Coach Fabio Capello’s final roster for the World Cup in 2010. The likely return of Beckham has already resulted in positive comments from Milan’s Clarence Seedorf. The Dutch midfielder believes another fine season by the English player will provide team with a substantial sparkle.
On the injury front, seldom-used defender Oguchi Onyewu was injured during World Cup qualifiers as the United States drew with Costa Rica. The American central defender is expected to be out for at least three to four months. This should not affect Coach Leonardo’s plans, as Onyewu has only featured in the last 30 minutes of the Champions League clash with Swiss side FC Zürich. On top of that, reserve defender Daniele Bonera is expected to miss the rest of the year with a groin injury. The 28-year-old defender, who can operate as either a centre-back or right-back, will further add to the defensive woes of the Rossoneri since Georgian Kakha Kaladze has only recently returned while Thiago Silva was dealing with niggling muscular injuries.
The Brazilian defender is expected to feature against Roma this weekend alongside defensive lynchpin Alessandro Nesta, who is rediscovering his old form. Nesta has been quite consistent this year that there are now rumours circulating that he, along with Roma’s captain Francesco Totti, might return for la Nazionale’s campaign in South Africa. The former Lazio defender has been one of Italy’s and Europe’s finest defenders for over a decade, yet injuries have often deprived him of playing in major tournaments for the Azzurri. Despite winning the World Cup in 2006, Nesta was injured after two games and missed out on the rest of the tournament which left him bitterly disappointed. It remains to be seen whether the elegant defender will rethink his international retirement. Coach Marcello Lippi might be tempted to call him up given his impressive and solid performances so far this season.
The clash versus Roma this weekend will be a tight affair between the revitalized Giallorossi, led by club talisman Totti, and the struggling Milan who have yet to impress this season. It is hard to believe that Leonardo can survive another series of inconsistent results and horrendous displays. Berlusconi has often prided himself on describing his reign as not just trophy-laden but also defined by entertaining football. Unfortunately under the Brazilian Coach, and given the limited funds as well as the lack of depth in the roster, the performances have been pedestrian at best. The tifosi have been calling for a change for quite some time now, as was evident during the San Siro defeat to Zürich. The Rossoneri seem to be devoid of ideas and lacking in options in more than one area of the team. The imminent arrival of Beckham in January will not suffice and the management will have to delve deep into the market to obtain the signature of some recognised names in attack and the defensive flanks. The use of Ignazio Abate as a full-back rather than a winger has been a relatively successful experience yet the team cannot rely on the player to excel in a position he rarely covered in the past. Such is Milan’s delicate situation that some players have been played out of position or, in some cases, switched to positions they have performed in years ago, namely Andrea Pirlo, who is now playing further up the field with the Azzurri.
Roma will represent a highly contested challenge, with many of the players having an eye on the upcoming clash with former hero Kaká and his Real Madrid team. No-one wishes injury upon any player, but Leonardo must be feeling lucky after hearing Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo will be out for around a month as los Galácticos begin to suffer from the strain of playing too many matches on the club and international level. All eyes will be on the San Siro this weekend to witness whether Leonardo can finally pull out Milan out of the current misery. He must ensure the players are focused on the clash with i Lupi and that Madrid will not be a distraction.
Milan Club Focus 2009/10
Pre-season expectation – August 18, 2009
Leonardo breathes as Brazilians relieve pressure – August 25, 2009
Kaka returns to the San Siro – August 27, 2009
How to play 4-3-1-2, a lesson from their rivals – September 1, 2009
Reshuffle the current squad, regain the winning mentality – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Leonardo’s time to react – September 7, 2009
Livorno springs opportunity to end crisis – September 11, 2009
Serie A slides down priority list – September 15, 2009
Leonardo lurches into decision-making territory – September 18, 2009
Off the pitch rumours continue to swirl – September 22, 2009
Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps? – September 25, 2009
A powerhouse that no longer strikes fear – September 29, 2009
Time is running out to save il Diavolo’s season – October 2, 2009
A draw as bitter as a defeat – October 6, 2009
The club is not for sale – October 9, 2009
International week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
In search of strikers and defenders – October 13, 2009
Berlusconi reiterates he will not sell as the Rossoneri prepare for Roma – October 16, 2009