Club Focus – Milan – Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps?

The Rossoneri’s training sessions must be a frightening sight for many of the club’s tifosi since the club’s leadership has turned Milan into a senior center. Il Diavolo’s supporters have been clamoring for an injection of fresh legs into a squad devoid of pace, athleticism and imagination. The once proud team is littered with older players who can only muster the occasional flash of brilliance. The past few years proved experience alone cannot win games on a consistent basis. To avoid repetition there is no point in delving into a description of the old players who are past their prime. The wise man in Milan turned out to be Carlo Ancelotti who jumped ship when he realised he was headed towards another hair-pulling and eye-scratching season on the team’s bench.

Silvio Berlusconi and his deputy Adriano Galliani continue to disregard public outcry for replenishing Milan’s ranks in what has turned into one of the decade’s most baffling football experiments. It is rather difficult to comprehend what is going through their thinking process as il Diavolo suffers from the embarrassment of playing second fiddle to city rivals Inter. The wretched condition of the team has been overlooked, turning the once feared club into a tempting target for rising clubs. Berlusconi once sanctioned the purchase of the great Dutch trio Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, yet now he appears to be holding tight to every dime in his pocket. In the aftermath of Kaká’s sale, the club had a window of opportunity to make a few high profile signings which never materialised. The €62m that came from Real Madrid could have easily been used to acquire some quality players who have become dispensable for Los Galacticos. Dutch winger Arjen Robben was one such player and has since moved to Bayern Munich. With the squad lacking in pace and creativity, a player of Robben’s stature would have been an ideal fit. He offers the lethal combination of experience and zeal. The management also refused to budge on its offering price for Brazilian striker Luís Fabiano.

Is it all gloom and doom in Milan? The answer is simple: a solid transfer campaign in January can remedy most of the concerns. Last summer, Brazilian Ronaldinho was brought in as he began to display indifference to his mediocre performances. Barcelona would not have sold the star had he not begun to show various forms of complacency, ill discipline and lack of respect for his body and the Barça organisation. Ronaldinho was often out partying in town and paid less attention to his form as time passed by. While he might have tried to steady the ship, a player of his stature will find it difficult to approach the lofty heights of the past, particularly when considering he has yet to recapture top physical shape and is nearing the age of 30. His situation has been covered over and again, but he is a case and point of how the Rossoneri management went for a ‘has-been’ instead of searching for a promising future star. The Brazilian misfit’s signature now seems like a ploy to appease the Milan faithful yet the move is backfiring.

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The team’s results speak volumes about the lack of dynamic players while the creative forces in the starting lineup, meaning Clarence Seeforf and Andrea Pirlo, are already the wrong side of 30. The victories over Bologna and Marseille did not hide the ugly nature of the performances, despite some glimpses of hope. Milan is struggling to score and failed to register a goal against Inter, Livorno, and Udinese while managing a meagre three goal haul in the two games against Bologna and Siena. The goals scored by the team have come courtesy of Alexandre Pato’s double in the triumph over Siena, Seedorf’s effort against Bologna, and a Filippo Inzaghi brace in the win over Marseille in Europe. Pato has recently hit the news for the wrong reasons, having not scored since the Siena match and having expressed his discontent with the distribution of the ball.

The Rossoneri will continue this negative trend of alternating between wins and losses unless Berlusconi decides to open his cheque book, or perhaps he waits for Milan’s next victory to announce he is stepping down and putting the club up for sale. After years of success, the time is ideal for Silvio to fall back and hand over il Diavolo to some noteworthy investor, and the same applies to some of the players on the roster.

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

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