Milan sent a message to their Serie A rivals with a 4-0 thrashing of Lecce in front of a jubilant home crowd at the Giuseppe Meazza who were left in awe of fit again Alexandre Pato and his brace of goals.
The game was instantly thrown in to the spotlight as the Rossoneri, prior to kick off, confirmed the loan signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that will be made permanent in the summer of 2011 at a knock down fee of £20m. The huge Swede was presented at half time and will be impressed by what he saw on Sunday.
Silvio Burlusconi, who was in attendance, gave the go ahead to secure Ibrahimovic’s move back to the peninsula and also looks set to lay out the red carpet for Man City reject Robinho. The Seleção star was flown in to Malpensa airport on the Italian Prime Minister’s private plane just in time to beat the transfer window deadline.
Before Milan’s late foray in to the transfer market, keeping Pato fit for the entirety of the campaign would prove essential for potential success this season for the Diavoli. Since his arrival in January 2008, the Brazilian star has struggled with niggling injuries at crucial points in Milan’s season, missing decisive matches last season against Inter and Manchester United.
With just over 15 minutes in to his new campaign, Pato opened his account with a pin-point finish from the right of the penalty area that fizzed in to the bottom left corner to send the milanisti in to jubilation.
A scrappy finish by Thiago Silva from a corner saw Milan double their lead which meant it was only a question of how many and whether Milan could put on a show for the home crowd.
On the half hour mark, Milan produced a breathtaking piece of football. Smooth passing from the back in to the midfield before Ronaldinho was set free with acres of space in front of him. As the samba superstar drew the defenders closer to him he found the space vacated in behind with a perfect pass on to the diagonal run of Pato who duly rounded the goal keeper and slotted in to an empty net.
For the rest of the match there was a feeling that it was nothing more than a training session for Milan and Ronaldinho brought out the tricks to entertain the fans. From a wide left position the former World Player of the Year used his elastico to get to the by-line and then brought out the rabona to cross the ball, the “oohs” and “arrghs” travelled around the Giuseppe Meazza.
It cannot be stated clearly enough that tougher challenges lie in wake for Milan but this will provide a welcome confidence boost for new boss Massimiliano Allegri although he will be weary of the raised expectations. Just days ago many would have thought qualification from the group of death in the Champions League, which includes Real Madrid, Ajax and Auxerre, was complicated.
With Ibrahimovic to be thrown in to the mix and Robinho too, Milan now looks a serious threat to all opponents. Multiple trophies or not, Milan look set to go entertain us all in the process. If nothing else, Rafael Benitez and Inter will be looking over at their rivals a little more nervously.
MILAN 4 – Lecce 0
Pato 15′, 29′
Thiago Silva 23′