Marco Borriello scored a brace to lead the Rossoneri to a 2-0 home win over Parma at the weekend. Despite the inconsistent start to the season, Coach Leonardo’s troops are now a mere two points behind the highly regarded Juventus, a prime candidate for the title according to the media and experts. Il Diavolo has 19 points to the Old Lady’s 21, while runaway leaders Inter are a further seven points ahead of the Bianconeri on 28 points.
The improvement in results is beginning to have a stabilising effect on the San Siro outfit, starting with its Coach and trickling down to its players, including the much maligned Brazilian maestro Ronaldinho. The victory sees Milan break into the top four of Serie A and, more predictably, the league table is beginning to shape up as expected in the pre-season with the exception of surprise package Sampdoria (the Ligurian side led by Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini). Besides the crucial points obtained against a solid Parma team, the most pleasing sight for the tifosi must have been that of Borriello celebrating not one but two goals. The burly striker has had a rough year with serious injury and slow recovery hindering his stint with Milan after a successful spell with Genoa.
The onus is on Leonardo to give Borriello more playing time and for the striker to prove himself by scoring goals on a consistent basis. With Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struggling to find the back of the net and proving to be incompatible with assured protagonist Alexandre Pato, Borriello will likely find plenty of chances as long as he keeps contributing to the Milan cause. Veteran striker Filippo Inzaghi will certainly have his say about this with his predatory instincts and legendary poaching skills which have yet to desert him. Inzaghi will probably feature more in cameo roles as well as in European competition since he tends to deliver on big occasions, as shown by his brace against French side Marseille earlier in the season.
Other positives from the weekend encounter with the Crociati include the impressive performance from unpredictable goalkeeper Dida as well as Thiago Silva’s assured display in defence despite the absence of fellow centre-back and former Lazio star Alessandro Nesta. The Brazilian defender has been a welcome addition to the back-line in a season which has so far seen the Rossoneri leak goals on a frequent basis. The second consecutive convincing display from Brazilian Dida, after the one against Napoli in midweek, does not mean much in the sense that the custodian has often made fine saves only to follow those with calamities. Finally, forward Ronaldinho was instrumental in securing maximum points against Parma after helping set up Borriello for both strikes. The Brazilian might still be way short of his peak days with Barcelona, yet he is at least beginning to contribute with a couple of goals and a number of assists. This is certainly a marked improvement from the early season rough patch which he went through which instigated rumours of his near retirement from the game.
The much anticipated clash with Spanish giants Real Madrid has overshadowed the shrewd signing of Dominic Adiyiah (pictured below, on the right), with the Ghana striker making the move from Norway following his eye-grabbing performances in his nation’s triumph in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup hosted by Egypt. While the Rossoneri faithful would perhaps prefer to see the signing of the likes of Luís Fabiano, Adiyiah’s capture implies the club management is beginning to effectively think about future designs for the side. In a move meant to complement the current squad, the transfer saga of David Beckham is almost concluded. The English midfielder was earlier reported to have agreed his loan stay with Milan, only for the claims to be negated due to financial reasons. However, the Englishman’s return has been confirmed, and he will rejoin the club on loan from January. Another encouraging report for the club – it seems German side Schalke will be forced to place some of its star players on the market, including Brazilian defender Rafinha, in order to balances the books. Il Diavolo has reportedly been pursuing the full-back along with Juventus.
The home clash with the Galácticos on Tuesday evening should offer the tifosi the opportunity to thank former hero Kaká for his brilliant efforts with the side as well as confirm the Rossoneri’s positive period. A victory over the suddenly struggling los Blancos will serve a long way towards qualification beyond the group stage. The fans will be expecting a cracking game.
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
Brazilian duo see off Roma – October 20, 2009
Rossoneri record famous win in Madrid – October 23, 2009
Leonardo stumbles upon the 4-2-3-1 – October 27, 2009
Two precious points dropped – October 30, 2009
Borriello strikes twice as Milan continue climbing the table – November 3, 2009