Straight from the dark heart of Italy
There was little lost in translation in the Italian press the morning after Milan’s exit from the Champions League.‘Milan The End’, was the banner headline on the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport. ‘Nothing Ancelotti’s men could do, the English were too strong,’ read the sub-headline.Arsenal’s young bucks had finally ended an era and just like Paolo Maldini’s dodgy hair-cut so the Rossoneri needs to be shorn to a neat and tidy short, back and sides.The Pink’un pointed to the fact that the average age of the Milan team was 30.2 years while the Gunners was a mere 24.5.The clear-out at Milanello in the summer will be swift and brutal and the paper confidently predicted that the club’s management would be on the first flight to London to sign Chelsea’s Didier Drogba.Gianluca Zambrotta would also be enticed back home from Barcelona along with Serie A’s current top goalscorer Macro Borriello who is half-loaned by Genoa.The goalkeeping situation needs a major shake-up although replacements for the inept Zeljko Kalac and the apparently doolally Nelson Dida were thin on the ground.The names of Hugh Lloris of Nice and Diego Alves from Spanish club Almenia must be making Maldini thankful that his son Christian has not been earmarked to make his debut at left-back until around 2014.The paper got all dewy-eyed about the veteran’s last-ever game in Europe and voted him Milan man-of-the-match.Corriere dello Sport instead went straight for Carlo Ancelotti’s throat, running the headline: ‘Milan, Lippi now!’.The apple-cheeked coach has definitely hit the end of the line and the whiff of Marcello Lippi’s cigar would soon be floating around the San Siro.In fact, according to the paper Italy’s World Cup-winning boss has already asked president Silvio Berlusconi to have the scorer of the second goal last night, Emmanuel Adebayor, present and correct for pre-season training.We have become used to Turin-based Tuttosport maintaining a level-headed approach to affairs outside the sphere of the world of Juventus.Therefore it was little surprise that a short, sharp ‘Finito’ would suffice for Milan before they returned to listing all the players who would be joining the Old Lady in the summer.And unsurprisingly, under the headline, ‘Stars of Juve’, were most of the Arsenal team.
One game does not signal the end of a great team. With a new manager coming in the summer, Milan still have a team good enough to win trophies, although consistancy at home in Italy has to be a priority. Lets start at the back. The goalkeepers (Kalac and Dida) are not the greatest but they are satisfactory and have both at times kept Milan in certain games. The full backs are fine and Nesta is world class. Kakladze is a quality defender and with one/two more defenders to come in the summer, Milan will continue to be as tight as ever. Rememer, conceding goals is not their problem. The reason Milan lost to Arsenal was because their midfield had a rare poor game. Pirlo is still probably the best passer of the ball in Europe (you do not lose this ability overnight) and Gattuso is a good foil for him. Seedorf and Kaka are key but Ambrosini probably isn't the greatest player that could play in that position so another solid midfielder would not go amiss. Up front Pato is top draw and showed glimpses of what he could do against Arsenal. Once this boy settles in he will have no problems cutting teams apart and scoring goals. Gilardino, Inzaghi and Paloschi are good back ups but I am led to beleive that either Drogba or a rejuvinated Adriano will lead the line next summer, we shall see. Milan are a great side with great players who just did not perform on the night and no-one said that this team was passed it when they lifted the Champions League last summer. As they say, form is temporary, class is perminant.
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