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How to Dismantle a Treble-Winning Team in 1.0 Seasons

I have made it clear before that there is no love lost between myself and our city rivals, Inter. Therefore, it has been an exquisite pleasure to watch Moratti’s misfortunes this past year. I like to call it Karma, and sometimes Karma is not so kind…

2007 bring back any memories, Mr. Moratti?
WARNING: This post may contain images of Massimo Moratti. Continue at your own risk.

First thing to do after winning the treble is to fail to keep your world class coach that won it for you. Sure, all of those tapes and phone calls allowed you to win 4 Scudetti in a row, but Jose Mourinho got you the Champions League trophy, with the Coppa Italia as icing. So you don’t keep him happy, he moves on.

Next, bring in an overrated coach with limited success to compensate for this loss. Rafa Benitez may have coached his Liverpool boys back from a 3-0 deficit to take Milan’s Champions League trophy in 2005, but was that win enough for Inter to believe he could ever repeat Mourinho’s success? After about 4 months, Moratti realized no. Bye bye Rafa.

One day you're in, the next day you're out...
What could be the missing key? A coach with the ability to pull Inter up out of their nosedive season and back on track to repeat last year’s success with such an impressive (and expensive) squad? Why not give the charismatic and virtually untested Leonardo a try, you know the manager that was let go after one very long season by the same team he had been with for 13 years by that point? Nevermind that he’d only just gotten his coaching badges. Forget how many players were unhappy under him or how limited his tactical skills were. He was likeable, he had nice hair, and this was going to drive a lot of Milan fans crazy to have him directly cross the city line so soon after his departure. Yes, Leonardo would be the missing key. Bonus that he and Mourinho became phone buddies, it was like 2 managers for the price of one.

Well Leonardo went on to do a halfway decent job the rest of the season, in spite of himself. But his naiveté showed through in the worst times as they choked hard in matches such as the crucial Milan Derby, and in the Champions League, too. In the end, with very much the same squad that Mourinho had, they were able to pull out a 2nd place finish in the league and a Coppa Italia trophy. All of this despite numerous public pronouncements of Leonardo being a traitor by fans and even Milan players.

But there was more self-destruction on the way. Leonardo realized what Moratti couldn’t see, that he was not ready to be a manager, least of all of a big team. And so the man whose loyalty had been questioned all along did what traitors do best: run for the hills. Or France, whichever is closer. PSG offered him a Director of Football position, which Leo is truly more suited to excel at. In fact, I’m glad he’s in Ligue 1 and not in Serie A.

I don’t think it’s called mutiny when your captain has already jumped ship, but a similar type of get-out-of-Dodge mentality ensued amongst the best players: Sneijder, Eto’o, Milito, Maicon, Cambiasso, and Lucio began to voice their desires to leave the club. Meanwhile Moratti is desperately searching for a new manager and being turned down by everyone he approached.

Never put your trust in a traitor.
So while Moratti is unsuccessfully trying to find a new manager, he’s also got to put out the fires with these players who are trying to escape. Reports in the media say that he has met with them and they will all stay. But the next day, reports say that Eto’o is in talks with another club and will likely leave, having been offered a bigger salary…. by one Leonardo, the now Director of Football at PSG.

I don’t know about all of you, but in the season for Summer blockbusters, this meltdown has more suspense, more twists and turns, and the most unassuming, slender Brazilian villain of any movie I’ve seen. Or is he a hero? I’m not sure.

One thing that is for sure is that we haven’t even hit intermission yet. Moratti will likely lure some decent manager to slither on in to Inter, and he will likely find some good players, possibly even better, to replace the ones who are jumping ship. Or maybe this is only the beginning of the end of the team who kicked Serie A when it was down, I don’t know.

Got any wiretaps to help you out of this one, sir?
But until then, I for one will watch the trainwreck with a grateful heart. Why? Because Berlusconi makes some bad calls, but overall, he gets it right. He will tell you himself, as many times as you like, that he is the most successful owner in football. And why is he successful? Largely because of his shrewd, wise, and prudent superfan and sporting director, Galliani.

Galliani may have made the mistake of giving Leo a chance in the first place. But he didn’t let it derail our getting back to winning ways completely. Whether it was tactless or not is hard to say, Leonardo seems very sensitive, but one way or another, Galliani thanked him and sent him on his merry way. Then he hired a competent coach and rocked the transfer market with a nice cash infusion from the aforementioned Berlusconi to build our squad. And while the Inter that won 4 Serie A titles in a row did it by climbing on the backs of the downtrodden, Milan won their 18th title the old fashioned way: hard work.

It is a great time to be an AC Milan fan. Enjoy the rest of the show.


This post brought to you by the musical inspiration of The Cult