Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Post: Then and Now

A special treat for your Monday: a guest post from one of our favorite fans!! Thanks for this post from mlisi39.

First of all, thank you to Elaine for the invite to guest blog. It’s very much appreciated and secondly, a short intro. My name is Michael, married, 3 kids and Milan junkie. I can’t help it.  My favorite 2 players are Gattuso and Pirlo. Gattuso for his anger and emotion and willingness to rip your heart out and Pirlo for being the smoothest, most beautiful footballer these 2 eyes have ever seen. We are all truly blessed for being fans of the team he plays for. More on him later.

Today I’d like to take everyone back in time to the Fall of 2003, heading into the last season Milan won the Scudetto. For some of you young folks, this will feel like an eternity since you may be new to the Rossoneri, and for others it’ll feel like it was the day before yesterday.

This was the roster entering the season:

GK-Abbiatti, Dida and Fiori

D-Cafu, Kaladze, Paulsen, Maldini, Nesta, Pancaro, Costacurta and Simic

M-Ambro, Brocchi, Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf, Rui Costa and Serginho

F-Sheva, Inzhagi, Borriello, Tomasson,

As the season started, believe it or not, there were seven players that are still on the team today: Abbiati, Nesta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf and Inzaghi.  The team had solid goalkeeping, had to replace an aging defender, had questions in the midfield and a solid attack with youth on the way. Sound familiar to this year’s squad? The difference is this team was looking to replace Maldini, who had said that would be his last season, (YEAH RIGHT!) was sorting out an overcrowded midfield situation with players like Rivaldo and Rui Costa looking to be on their way out and the attack was spearheaded by Sheva and Inzaghi with a young Borriello looking for some time. Folks were actually HAPPY that Bonera was coming in!!! Imagine that?  Little did they know that Maldini wasn’t retiring anytime soon, the midfield was merely getting better and reloading, no one knew exactly how good Kaka was going to be, and the striker spot was still in VERY capable hands for years to come with Sheva and Pippo.

The similarities don’t end there.

So far this season, we have scored 60 and allowed 23.  In 2004, we scored 65 and gave up 24. This year’s team already has more clean sheets, 17, than the 2004 team had, 15. Funny, considering it was assumed that team needed new defenders, just like we assumed this year’s team did. Yet, they had a great defensive record using players already on hand. This year we have 74 points with 4 left and that year’s team finished on 82. Although that team featured Sheva with 24 goals, it still had 3 people in double figures (Sheva 24, Tomasson 12, Kaka 10) while this year’s team also features 3 people in double figures (Ibra 14, Pato 14, Robinho 12).

This was the preferred lineup for 2003-2004:

Dida

Cafu-Nesta-Maldini-Pancaro

Gattuso-Pirlo-Seedorf

Kaka

Tomasson-Sheva

The main alternates were Costacurta, Ambro, Inzagi and Rui Costa.

A little look into the past for those that may have forgotten and those that may be too young to remember. As some of our older players, especially those 7 that remain since 2004, are getting ready to possibly move on, it is important to remember what all they accomplished. We may wonder what good they are now and question their selection, but we should never forget the past.


This leads me to one last question that I’ll leave you with to ponder.  I can’t believe I am actually going to type this, but, whither Andrea Pirlo? Blasphemy you might say! Alas, he is my favorite all-time Milan player and before this year I would have thought it impossible to bring home any hardware without him, but is it time to let him go on a free?  Thoughts?