Climbing Back Up

Every week of European competition this season hurts… a lot. A lot more than I thought it would. While it’s nice to focus on Serie A and maybe the Coppa Italia, playing in Europe is simply part of Milan’s DNA. The same DNA that Inzaghi is trying to restore. I don’t know for sure if we’ll make it back next season… I really hope so. But for now we have to be satisfied with climbing back up.

Every goal is a step in the right direction

Earlier this month, I wrote about the hole in my heart that was made by the lack of European competition this year. This week, as our Serie A rivals are all set to compete in Europe again, Milan find themselves surprisingly in fourth place in the league. I want to believe that it is a good omen, that we will stay in the European spots this season, and hopefully even reach a Champions League berth or qualifying spot. But there are 31 games left. That’s like declaring victory over a mountain when you haven’t even really started climbing.

Galliani spoke yesterday about how he plans to strengthen the squad. I think he thinks if he says that Khedira earns too much money enough times, he can get Khedira to lower his wage demands and come to Milan in January. At least that’s a better idea than Matri, for whom we are still paying for another two and a half years.

Galliani's morning after Matri expression

That’s right, I don’t trust Galliani. We are climbing back up, but our guide is a loose wire who has a history of getting great players, but a more recent history of making horrifyingly bad transfer choices. Whether or not we are to make it back to Europe anytime soon will depend largely on what he and Maiorino do. Their plans to recruit from an obscure Argentinian team that no one has ever heard of is not comforting at all.

The climb will also depend on Berlusconi. He has already publicly said that Inzaghi and the squad “didn’t do what I told them to do.” He has also spent two to three hours per week at Milanello. But he’s still complaining about how much money he (his company) has invested in Milan recently, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be funding any purchases for actual talented players in their prime. Without such quality, players in great form, we may not have quite enough to make it back to the top.

The perfect person to inspire the next generation

Inzaghi is perhaps our best hope, as he seems to be addressing most of our biggest problems with honesty and courage. He has always said that this team lacked the talent to get back to the top, but that they would do it anyway, with grit and determination. And so far, it has held true. He has also already endured a big wave of injuries, and didn’t do too badly. He has taught the players the meaning of wearing the Milan jersey, and they have responded better than expected. However, he has also played Bonera and Muntari way too much, so he is certainly not perfect.

So many factors to consider when trying to guess whether or not Milan will make it back to the top for next season. Not the least of which is how our opponents do. But there is a growing sense of optimism, fueled by the results so far. A belief that there is more to this squad than meets the eye. That if maybe we can stop hemorrhaging goals, we can keep fighting for a European spot this year. I’m still very skeptical given our recent history, but a glimmer of my optimism has returned. It’s a long season and so many things can happen. But I have to believe, at least on some level, that Milan are climbing back up.

This post inspired by the music of Andrea Bocelli

Our next match is
Milan vs. Fiorentina
Sunday, October 26 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
*note the end of European daylight savings time changes the time difference

Climbing Back Up Climbing Back Up Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
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