Milan suffered a 1-0 defeat in Genoa behind closed doors after the decision to play the match without fans in attendance to avoid any unfortunate incidents. Leonardo was able to count on young Brazilian Alexandre Pato who partnered Marco Borriello in the attack. Pato had a well-taken header chalked-off for offside but was otherwise somewhat subdued considering he just made his return from injury while his partner Borriello showed some nifty moves, was active and threatened to score on a number of opportunities. Borriello who has managed 14 goals in the league and is hoping to secure a spot on the Azzurri squad headed to South Africa 2010 has had a decent season but the Italian forward showed he might be lacking the predatory instincts of poachers such as veteran Filippo Inzaghi.
This marked the club’s eighth defeat of the season and the Rossoneri have lost games against Sampdoria, Palermo and Genoa in recent weeks not because of their lack of opportunities but due to their wasted opportunities and their weak defensive line. Against Sampdoria the Rossoneri had a number of chances to get a result yet the players were wasteful and ironically against the second Genoa club the outcome was another defeat due to more wasted opportunities with Borriello being one of the main culprits. With Klaas-Jan Huntelaar coming off the bench during the second-half to show once again how ineffective he has been for the most part this campaign, the Rossoneri must make it a priority to sign a top-class forward if they are to challenge for honours or even repeat their achievement of finishing third in Serie A. The tifosi might argue a club of Milan’s stature cannot consider a third place finish as an objective but the persistent rumours affecting the Coach and certain players as well as the injuries and the tension between president Silvio Berlusconi and Leonardo have all been a detrimental factor to the team’s progress. A slow start to the season was followed by a positive run which coincided with Brazilian duo Ronaldinho and Pato performing at a top level and propelling the club to challenge Inter’s supremacy in the Italian top flight albeit for a short stretch. The injuries to key players Pato and Alessandro Nesta put a damper into Milan’s season and brought to a screeching halt the club’s progress which happened to coincide with a dry spell for the other star Ronaldinho.
Milan’s number two in the coaching staff Mauro Tassotti claimed he has no idea whether Leonardo will remain as Coach next season but declared he expects the Brazilian to release a statement regarding his future following the last match of the season against Juventus. Leonardo has insisted he wants to focus on the clash with fallen giants Juve and does not want to discuss his future prior to the final 90 minutes of the campaign. While players such as Gianluca Zambrotta have claimed they were unaffected by the rumours surrounding the coaching position, Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf made it clear the uncertainty was a destabilising factor during the last few weeks of the season. Others such as Borriello voiced their concerns while hoping the Brazilian remains as the Tactician next season in Milan despite the poor results in recent games. During the Genoa match, vice-president Adriano Galliani was visibly aggravated with the missed opportunities and was not impressed by certain players as he shook his head on more than one occasion during some of the match’s main incidents.
There is no more drama for Milan as they will be playing in the Champions League, but off the pitch there will be a serious of questions waiting to be answered beginning with Leonardo’s status and the future of young striker Pato who is being linked with moves to recently crowned Premier League champions Chelsea and to Spanish giants Real Madrid who were able to taste firsthand how dangerous the Brazilian can be in front of goal. On a final note the Azzurri team might still witness a shock call up with Italy Boss Marcello Lippi admitting he is remaining hopeful when it comes to tempting Alessandro Nesta out of international retirement. The centre-back has had a solid season and despite his absence in recent weeks he is likely to make a playing return in the season finale against the Bianconeri. The next few days will probably be decisive as to whether the former Lazio star will head to the World Cup for the fourth time in his career. Nesta has had to endure injuries and misfortune with the Azzurri during the big events including Germany 2006 when Italy lifted the World Cup for the fourth time in their history.