On the final day of the transfer window Milan loaned Brazilian playmaker Amantino Mancini until the end of the season from neighbours and fierce rivals Inter.
The move has raised eyebrows in both camps with elements please to see him go, unhappy to see him leave and so forth in the opposite camp. Milan have an option to buy the winger at the end of the loan for €3m however, he will need to perform well for the Rossoneri in a short space of time after a dismal period with the Nerazzurri Mancini arrived at Inter 18 months ago and was purchased for €13m by the recently arrived Coach Jose Mourinho. Mancini was highly rated after playing 150 times and scoring 40 goals for Roma putting in dazzling performances on the right. He and Ricardo Quaresma were signed to play in a 4-3-3 formation either side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic but neither winger performed and Mourinho adopted a 4-4-2 which saw Mancini and his fellow winger dropped to the bench.
The main failing for Mancini was that he offered very little in terms of defensive cover when the full-back darted forward. The fans often saw this as lazy and criticised his work-rate, especially when they had seen him play so well and with so much heart for the Giallorossi. The fact that he used to play at right-back also aggravated the fans as they knew he was capable. His departure from la Benemata comes a little later than expected, with the player admitting he was ready to leave in the summer: “I’ve wasted the last six months. I was ready to leave but then Mourinho called me and said he had faith in me. I would like to wipe out the last year. Now I’m turning over a new leaf and starting a new adventure. I’m looking for redemption, to win, to find the serenity that I lost a year ago. I will do what’s possible and what’s impossible to return to the top.”
Former right-back and Milan legend Cafu is among those who has stated that he is thrilled to see Mancini at Milan, club Vice-President Adriano Galliani has been talking to the Press also telling of his delight to see the Brazilian wear the red and black of Milan. The winger’s agent also enthused that: “Amantino will have the chance to show himself with Leonardo. He can play on the right or left, even with Pato and Ronaldinho together.”
It may look then that this transfer was a sugar coated move, a transfer that was meant to be? On the contrary the most vocal critic is someone that not only has huge influence in and for Milan but in an exhorted position in Italy. Milan club owner and Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has slammed the decision and has publicly announced the fact whilst in Israel this week: “I really don’t understand it, he is another creative player when we need someone who can finish off moves. He’s not played for two years. I don’t agree with getting him and I’ve told Galliani.”
Berlusconi does not often question Galliani so openly and must therefore have serious reservations over the capture of the former Roma man. As frosty as Berlusconi’s words may be it is nothing compared to the reception he could get from the Inter faithful in the derby next season. Mancini follows in a long line of players to have played for both sides – Fulvio Collovati, Roberto Baggio, Christian Vieri, Ronaldo and Clarence Seedorf are but a few who have crossed over to the opposing side and managed to find themselves in an uninviting state of equilibrium that holds both exaltation and demonisation.
Mancini will however, see this as a fresh start and under a Coach who is a fellow Brazilian could just find his form again. Mancini can play in various roles from right-back to winger to support striker – it is a consistent run in the team and game time he needs and if he can find this then he has a chance at recapturing his glory days. Ronaldinho also looked like his career was in disarray before Leonardo let him remember what it was like to play football and be happy again.