As an AC Milan supporter, I was very disappointed to see how the Rossoneri started the season this year.
First of all, the sale of Coach Allegri’s ace in his attack, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as well as star central defender, Thiago Silva, really hurt the team. In addition, the selling the crafty Antonio Cassano to childhood team and cross-city rivals Internazionale was a bitter pill.
Berlusconi’s men started the year off with only four points in their first seven games – an absolute terrible stat for a side that finished second in the preceding session. The only positive note of the Diavoli’s dilemma was the 19-year old Italian-Egyptian youngster who sports ‘la cresta’ (fullhawk) – as they call it in Italian- Stephan El Shaarawy. AC Milan was in the bottom half of the table and looked like it would be a season where this fallen giant would be battling it out for survival. Instead, four months later this team has picked itself from amongst the ashes, and seems to be quickly gaining ground on the Serie A leaders.
Currently tied for third, and the final Champions League spot, the purchase of Mario Balotelli has really inspired this team. Hate him or like him, but probably hate him, Balotelli is a very skilled forward who I believe will shine in the Milan jersey for various reasons. Primarily, Super Mario is an AC Milan supporter at heart, and Berlusconi knows how to tame these ‘out-of-sorts’ characters. He is the main guy up front along with fellow Italian international El Shaarawy, and doesn’t have the likes of Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko to compete for time with. With these two in the line-up, I believe this Milan team will finish third in the Serie A. So far Balotelli has scored four goals in three games for his current employers. He seems to be match-fit, and believe it or not, I even saw him smile!
The injection of yet another unsung hero, 19-year old French International Mbaye Niang, has given Milan’s attack a much needed spark. This side has what it takes to surprise anyone in the Italian top flight. This week in the Champions League, AC Milan will take on power house Barcelona. Obviously Barca on paper, at least right now, should absolutely destroy this Rossoneri side. However, just remember that Milan is Milan, and Berlusconi’s boys in black and red don’t lay down for nobody.
Anything can happen in football, especially when a team is highly motivated – just look at Celtic. I’m not saying it’s going to happen necessarilyi, but never count out the historic teams because they are always looking to make history!
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Photo Credit: Goatling, Wiki Commons