Straight from the dark heart of Italy
What better way than to spend a Wednesday evening than with a relaxing visit to Lugano?Nestling on the shores of Lake Lugano, just across the border from Italy and known as the ‘Monte Carlo of Switzerland, it’s the perfect spot for the well-paid footballer to kick back although the players of AC Milan seem to be taking that all too literally.
"What's the score lads..."
It’s well into stoppage time and local side, AC Lugano of the Swiss Challenge League, claim to fame: former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld once played for them, are leading the San Siro giants 2-0.Picturesque setting it may be but Carlo Ancelotti has a face the look of thunder. It was meant to be a chance to limber up for the league game at Genoa whose president Enzo Preziosi happens to own Lugano, and give Ricky Kaka a run-out.However, the evening starts out badly and gets progressively worse for the visitors.Firstly, Filippo Inzaghi limps off after a mere 17 minutes clutching the inside of his thigh, not a pretty sight at the best of times but particularly worrying as Serie Aaaaargh! has taken up a strategic position behind the Milan dug-out and can see that the striker is in some distress.A few expletives later and Pippo flops down on the bench where a trainer rams an ice-pack into the offending area.At least we’ll see Kaka make an appearance sooner than we expected but no, Ancelotti sends on some youth player to fill in up front for 20 minutes or so.
Felipe Massa checks in on best buddy Kaka
Events back on the pitch are a bit like the surroundings: all very neat and tidy but nothing much seems to be going on.There’s Paolo Maldini, there’s Clarence Seedorf, oh look, it’s Emerson and Pato but this close-up and personal they don’t give off the air of masters of the footballing universe.Ancelotti lays into Pato for strolling around and anyone else who comes within ear shot.So it’s some relief then that half-time arrives and we can all have a bit of piece and quiet while Kaka goes through a few gentle stretches in between chatting with Felipe Massa of all people.It’s the Monza Grand Prix this weekend and the little mop-haired F1 driver has taken time off from testing his Ferrari to watch his good mate in action.Thankfully when Kaka takes the pitch he immediately draws his team-mates out of their earlier inertia. A couple of back-heels and a thumping drive that flies past the post and nearly decapitates a photographer – much as in the Omen film although granted that was a pane of glass - are the picks of a very positive return for the World Player of the Year.Pity about the rest of the side who troop off without seemingly a care in the world as Ancelotti fires the dagger stares at their backs and then throws a mighty strop, leaving new boy Philippe Senderos to face the press.
That snap-shot Milan catches a glimpse of a side that has become self-satisfied with the trappings of the good life and just can’t be bothered anymore.Is it time to say arrivederci to Ancelotti? Well, defeat at Genoa and his head will really be on the block. Look out for the names of Roberto Donadoni and Frank Rijkaard – Carlo’s old Rossoneri midfield partners – entering the frame very soon.
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