Club Focus – Milan – Milan Derby looms large

Setting aside all rumours and diversions will not be a problem this weekend. At this stage nothing is bigger than the upcoming derby clash between league leaders Inter and the surging Rossoneri. The encounter with the Nerazzurri will be the club’s fiercest test since the beginning of the season as this match will serve as a proper indicator of Milan’s credentials to win the Scudetto.

The trip to Turin was supposed to be a proper preparation ahead of the fiery tussle with Inter, yet the struggling Bianconeri were no match losing 3-0. Milan followed their Turin exploit with another scoring feast netting four goals against Siena with Ronaldino leading the charge. The Brazilian scored a memorable hat-trick and his last goal will be talked about for some time considering it was reminiscent of his delightful strikes during his peak days at the Camp Nou. The former Barcelona star is rapidly approaching top form and Coach Leonardo will be looking for him to provide inspiration and goals.

Ronaldinho has gradually raised his game to become the flag bearer for the Rossoneri with his performances improving dramatically from the early season’s inconsistent patch. He has now established himself as one of the club’s leaders with his displays and goals for the club. The Brazilian’s presence extends beyond the goals and assists which appear in match reports. He is once again a force to be reckoned with and Coaches will have to pay attention to the threat posed by him, which will free up space for Marco Borriello. Moreover, he has become to Milan what Cristiano Ronaldo was to Manchester United before his transfer to Spain. United’s players used to perform with more confidence with Ronaldo on the pitch as they were aware of the Portuguese player’s special ability to pop up with a goal out of nowhere to win the day for the Red Devils and reward his fellow players for their efforts.

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In this case Milan’s players acknowledge their efforts will not go to waste as Ronaldinho can score for the club at any moment or create something out of nothing for his teammates to ensure they end the match on top. Earlier in the season, Milan did not have a player capable of turning a match upside down and virtually winning it with a solo effort or a moment of magic. Despite all the praise which Ronaldinho deserves, it would be wrong to discredit the improved team work and growing harmony amongst the Rossoneri players as these remain crucial factors behind the club’s current revival. They will most likely take on the top team in Italy without the services of the reliable Alessandro Nesta. The impeccable centre-back will be given ample time to prove his fitness since the latest reports indicate he is still suffering from a heavy bruise. It would not be a surprise to see him start this weekend as the medical staff at Milanello will be trying the very best to make sure Nesta is available for this top-of-the-table clash.

No matter how hard players from either side will try to play down the significance of this match in deciding the fate of the Scudetto, Leonardo and opposite number José Mourinho are well aware of the dire consequences of losing the derby. A Rossoneri victory is equivalent to winning six points as the gap with Inter will be reduced to a mere three points and the side will still have a postponed match to play. More importantly, the winner will build momentum for at least the next few weeks which could be crucial in setting the tone for the remaining fixtures in the season. Confidence is a commodity which cannot be bought but must be earned on the pitch, as the wasted millions spent by Juventus have shown. Only victories can create an aura of invincibility, which is something the Nerazzurri have been good at achieving. Following the Calciopoli scandal, Inter did not sit back after the punishments were dished out but rather proceeded to work diligently to create a behemoth all Italian clubs began to fear.

Again, results on the pitch are the decisive way to measure success and no matter how hard the loser will try to downplay the result, deep inside the defeated players will have taken a major knock. History is full of lessons and there is no need to look far back as Milan’s 4-0 loss to Inter earlier in the season showed how much damage a landmark defeat can do.

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Milan Club Focus 2009/10

Pre-season


Pre-season expectation
– August 18, 2009

Week 1


Leonardo breathes as Brazilians relieve pressure
– August 25, 2009

Week 2


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

Week 3


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

Week 4


Off the pitch rumours continue to swirl
– September 22, 2009

Week 5


Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps?
– September 25, 2009

Week 6


A powerhouse that no longer strikes fear
– September 29, 2009

Week 7


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

Week 8


Berlusconi reiterates he will not sell as the Rossoneri prepare for Roma
– October 16, 2009


Brazilian duo see off Roma
– October 20, 2009

Week 9


Rossoneri record famous win in Madrid
– October 23, 2009


Leonardo stumbles upon the 4-2-3-1
– October 27, 2009

Week 10


Two precious points dropped
– October 30, 2009

Week 11


Borriello strikes twice as Milan continue climbing the table
– November 3, 2009


A bitter draw after Pato’s disallowed ‘goal’ as Huntelaar emerges unscathed
– November 6, 2009

Week 12


The Rossoneri challenging Juventus for second place
– November 10, 2009

International week (Italy-Holland, Italy-Sweden)

Week 13


Crucial stretch begins as Dzeko linked again
– November 20, 2009


Rossoneri continue impressive run
– November 24, 2009

Week 14


Missed opportunity to qualify
– November 27, 2009


Huntelaar breaks his duck with a late double to lift Mila to second
– December 1, 2009

Week 15


Season-defining week looms ahead
– December 4, 2009


Sunshine glimmers from the San Siro, but those clouds won’t leave
– December 8, 2009


Qualification secured after a scare
– December 11, 2009

Week 16


Gattuso to help the aged a little longer
– December 14, 2009

Week 17


Staying away from the market
– December 18, 2009


Winter break starts early
– December 22, 2009

Winter break


Beckham lands in town
– December 29, 2009


Giants on the transfer horizon
– January 5, 2010

Week 18


Beckham makes second Milan debut
– January 8, 2010

Week 19


Ronnie puts the breaks on in Turin
– January 12, 2010


Weakened Rossoneri scrape by Novara
– January 15, 2010

Week 20


Ronaldinho is enjoying playing again and soaking in the love
– January 19, 2010

Week 21


Milan derby looms large
– January 22, 2010

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