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Showing posts from February, 2013

The Most Interesting Coach in the World

Massimiliano Allegri rarely invokes a mediocre reaction. Many hold him in high esteem and are quick to mention his many accomplishments in his relatively brief coaching career: Back to back Panchina d’Oro awards for his time at Cagliari, a Scudetto his first season with Milan as well as Coach of the Year awards that year, and a second place finish amongst an injury Armageddon last year. While others criticize him for his shortcomings, his stubbornness, his lack of learning curve, and more. He produces an epic win vs. Barcelona and backs it up with a lackluster draw to Inter. But whether you identify with one side or the other, or maybe somewhere in between, you must admit that he has a very unique personality and coaching style. To have a bit of fun and to celebrate the enigma that is Mister Allegri, I give to you: The Most Interesting Coach in the World...

Podcast: The Martians Have Landed

Having been dubbed “martians” by the Italian press for playing “out of this world” against Barcelona last week, Milan gave up a lead to draw to our cugini in the Derby della Madonnina, bringing us back down to earth.

Today’s episode features Sam Lewis, Deputy Editor of Forza Italian Football. We talk about:
• In the News: Milan’s “Martians, Manager News, and the Viareggio Tournament
• Tactics Focus: Where should Boateng play?
• Champions League: Barcelona (check out what Sam had to say about how Milan exposed Barcelona’s weaknesses)
• The Derby della Madonnina: The good, the bad, and the ugly
• A preview of upcoming matches: Lazio, Genoa, and the Champions League match away to Barcelona
• Player Spotlight: Mattia de Sciglio

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Special thanks again to Sam, we had some serious extra-terrestrial and or Interisti interference recording this one. But just like our Milan, we had one good half and we struggled to get a result. If you are on Twitter, you can help make i…

Inter 1, Milan 1: Red Like the Fire, Black Like…

In our hearts, we knew we had everything to fear. But after the midweek victory, we all wanted to believe that it wasn’t just a fluke. And for the first half, it truly seemed like the Curva Sud’s coreografia would propel tired legs in the face of our fiercest rivals: “Red like the fire… Black like your fear.” But unfortunately, we came back down to earth from being “martians” (out of this world, usually used to describe Barca,) to play like the Milan who have done so well in Serie A of late. We played 45 good minutes, Allegri forgot to sub, and so we ended up with a draw instead of three points. Not a bad result, considering we had lost the last three Derbies to our Cugini, but still, not what we wanted. So the coreografia at the end of the game might have been something more along the lines of “Red like the fire, Black like… the ashes of our hopes for this game.”

Inter vs. Milan: Game On!

Inter vs. Milan Preview: Luck Be a Lady

The Derby della Madonnina gets its name from a beautiful golden statue of the Lady Madonna that sits atop the massive cathedral in the center of Milano, il Duomo. She looks out over the city, and thus is believed to look out over the derby between Inter and Milan. While I was in Milano for the last derby, she was surrounded by scaffolding, symbolic of the rebuilding in Serie A, and specifically of AC Milan. I am not Catholic, and thus am not really aware of what I would need to do to invoke her spiritual blessings, so I hope that she is a bit of luck instead. That maybe, having been surrounded by improvements herself, her smile will find favor on the most recently renovated Rossoneri on Sunday. Please, la Madonnina, luck be a lady and shine on AC Milan.

Champions League Round of 16 • Milan 2, Barcelona 0: Miracles Do Happen

It was unthinkable. Even for the most optimistic Milan fans, the stats were stacked heavily against us. Maybe we could draw, maybe we could win by a one goal margin, for those who dared to dream. But to play that well for 90 minutes, with so many players out, and shut down the best team in the world… only a miracle could make that happen. But miracles do happen. And our boys today showed that they are nothing short of miraculous. With a little help from the ref Karma, our boys showed that the Champions League is not just in our DNA, it’s nel profondo dell’anima… in the depths of our soul.

Champions League – AC Milan vs. Barcelona: Game On!

Champions League Round of 16 • Milan vs. Barcelona: No Regrets

We are no strangers to Barcelona. Having played them in both the Group Stages and the Quarterfinals last year in the Champions League, we actually played them more times than most of our Serie A rivals last season. But that was then. There are some new boys in Milano. A lot of new boys. In fact, Barcelona probably won’t even recognize us anymore. But they’ll remember the stadium, they know the colors of our jerseys, and the brilliance of our fans. So I say that tomorrow, we leave it all on the pitch. No apologies, no regrets.

Nel Profondo dell’Anima

When you mention AC Milan, certain images are conjured up. Most of them champions, doing what champions do best: winning. And not winning just anything. Milan have seven Champions League trophies, with only one club, Real Madrid, claiming more. It may seem ridiculous to be recalling the glory days with a team that is rebuilding after burning down the house, so to speak. And even more so when our opponents for the Round of 16 are the almighty Barcelona. But Milan’s tradition of excellence in the Champions League is “nel profondo dell’anima,” or “in the depths of the soul.”

Milan 2, Parma 1: The Pregame Show

Well, we played one good half of football again, and got lucky again with the own goal gift from the birthday boy. But considering that this was just the game before the game next Wednesday, and we won’t have Super Mario with us then, it’s not as comforting as the result would appear. But none of this is as disconcerting as the fact that RAI chose to air the Sanremo music festival live instead of the game. Well, okay, Milan's problems are more important. But Sanremo is hardly a pregame show. I want my Milan!

Milan vs. Parma: Game On!

Podcast: Happy Birthday, Milan Obsession!

To celebrate the second anniversary of this blog, I wanted to throw a huge party at the San Siro and invite 70,000 of my closest readers. But, having been reminded by Milan's management over and over again that we are in a huge economic crisis, I had to downgrade the celebrations to a simple podcast. However, having been nagged for 2 years to do one of these, hopefully, this will make some of you happy. Welcome to the Milan Obsession podcast!

Milan-Parma Preview: Strange Bedfellows

Parma used to produce amazing players. Some of its alumni include Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Hernan Crespo, Lilian Thuram, Sebastian Frey, and even Daniele Bonera. Oh, wait… well, mostly amazing players. Anyway, now it has become more of a rehabilitation club, taking in the poor, tired, weary, and disgraced and giving them playing time at the midtable level until they are sent to pasture. Which is why Juventus legend Amauri joined the club, as well as my personal favorite, Cristian Zaccardo. So in January, Milan, looking to improve the club in the way that a woman having a midlife crisis gets a little too much botox, made a deal to exchange Mesbah and Strasser for the infamous ex-Italian international. As if that weren’t strange enough, it is our ex Milan legend Roberto Donadoni leading the team into battle. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

The Other Side of Juve

I have had many experiences with Juventini, and for the past two seasons, far too many of them have been negative. In fact, just the other day, after I had already planned this post, I was attacked yet again on Twitter. Juventini were supposed to be celebrating their win over Fiorentina, yet a couple of fans attacked me for something I had tweeted 3 weeks earlier (which, ironically was about being attacked by another Juventino.) This time, though, three other Juventini defended me. Juventini who are tired of the reputation their club and fans are getting. One such fan, who has been particularly tormented, being married to this loud-mouthed Milanista and having to hear about all of the abuse that's earned me, is Sposato al Nemico (which means “married to the enemy.”) In a world where Juventus is, for some, synonymous with scandal and corruption, he is a beacon of class and sportsmanship to me. So I sat down for a formal interview with him to hear about the other side of Juve. (Ple…

Cagliari 1, Milan 1: All is Not Lost

Milanisti were commended by coach Pulga on their sporting help to get this match played on the island. But I wondered, as I started watching the match, which island it was? Instead of Sardegna, home of Cagliari, it felt like the island from the TV show “Lost.” However, one sporting gesture deserves another. Astori was kind enough to earn a red card 10 minutes from time, earning us a penalty to equalize this match. Galliani, you know what to do. Get that boy a transfer back to Milan this summer! As for this match, I guess you could say that all is not lost.

Cagliari vs. Milan: Game On!

Cagliari-Milan Preview: No Place Like Home

With Cellino’s threat to boycott this match if it is not played at home, it’s difficult to write a preview for a game that could potentially not be played. Yet I feel for Cagliari, they absolutely deserve to play this one at home. Their plight over the past year or more has been downplayed by the league officials. Not surprising, then, that it is the league officials who are determining where their matches will be played. So I have two wishes for this magical match. One, that the match is actually played. And two, that Cagliari somehow magically get to play it at home. When it comes to a football team that is based on an island, there is no place like home.

Video Killed the Football Star

It used to be that when a team signed a new player, the anticipation of seeing them play had to wait until they actually took the pitch, unless you’d managed to see them play for another club previously. Even then, there was the knowledge that playing with a different group of players, they would likely play somewhat differently. But the popularity and accessibility of YouTube has changed all of that. A single highlight reel can convince fans that a player is world class or maybe just trash. One spin or shot or goal, played over and over again in a 2-4 minute video out of context and with some good music can convince more than a great 90 minute performance of a player’s quality. Just like the advent of the music video changed radio forever, YouTube is changing how fans view players. It’s as if video killed the football star.

Watching this clip would make you think that Djamel Mesbah was a starter at Milan

50 Shades of Red and Black

I was filled with desire. There was nothing else I could remember that had made me feel this way. It was more than attraction, it became my obsession. It was all I could think about, filling my every waking moment… and many of my sleeping ones, too. I would do anything just to be near the object of my desire…. anything. I was consumed with the images… the sounds… the way it made me feel. I was consumed with my red and black.

Milan 2, Udinese 1: Housewarming

It would have been spectacular to say that Milan gave Balotelli a housewarming party that ended up with 3 points to welcome him. But the team themselves couldn’t quite pull it off, so Valeri and his team of refs stepped up and gifted the win instead. I wish it were any other way. Instead of the sweet, sweet taste of victory, it was a bit sour at the end. However, no matter how badly I feel for Udinese, it’s hard to be crushed watching Balotelli score a brace in his very first appearance for the club of his dreams. So however we got here, or whether or not we deserve it, Welcome Home, Super Mario!

Milan vs. Udinese: Game On!

Milan-Udinese Preview: Testing, 1…2…3…

In an impressive run of form, Milan are undefeated in the league in January… all against teams in the lower half of the table. But this week, we welcome 9th place Udinese to the San Siro to see if those games were just flukes or if Milan really deserve to climb the table. We will be tested by a team that does amazing things with such a small budget. We will be tested by the veteran striker Di Natale. We will be tested by players like Muriel. But mostly, we will be tested by ourselves. Can we stay focused for 90 minutes and play  our best game? Will our new signings get some time on the pitch, and will they fit in quickly with our squad? Will we stop making dumb mistakes and conceding on set pieces? Will we pass the Udinese test?