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Real Madrid-Milan Preview: Family Reunion


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about families and spending time with them and such. But when the rich brother gets richer and the poor brother loses everything he has and gets even more poor, it’s more tragedy than football. So even if it’s just a friendly, tomorrow’s match in Dubai proves to be a very painful family reunion for Milan fans… both on and off the pitch.

Like most family reunions, embracing beneath the Champions League trophy

In this case, our beloved Carlo Ancelotti’s overachieving team in both spending and in football has also just won its 18th International title at the Club World Cup, tying Boca Juniors and… wait for it… Milan. This after him winning the club's record tenth Champions League title. Ancelotti himself as a manager has won the Champions League twice (and been a runner up) with Milan as well as having won two European Cups with Milan as a player. Real Madrid come into this match at the top of La Liga, one point ahead of their title-wealthy cousins, Barcelona. It must be tough to be both wealthy and successful.

Milan wouldn’t know about either one of those in recent years. We come into the match as the poor little brother, with Pippo Inzaghi, one of the players who gave Ancelotti his other two Champions League titles as manager. Sure, Milan have won seven Champions League titles, second only to Real Madrid. But that was in the days that we could afford a manager like Carlo Ancelotti.

To be fair, the hand-me-down has served us quite well.

At least he threw us a bone, sending Diego Lopez our way when he was pushed out at Real Madrid. Still, Milan come into this “friendly” in seventh place in Serie A, which is a struggling league in and of itself. To make matters worse, Galliani has stopped begging for free transfers and is now begging for free transfer swaps, making Milan appear to be the most pathetic and impoverished European team out there (and that includes Parma, who were recently docked a point because they couldn’t pay their players’ wages.)

But whatever about comparing the two clubs and their polar opposite situations, this is going to be about the football, right? Well it’s a friendly, so who knows what it will be like? I expect to see a lot of bench players get time, but the fans will want to see the stars, too, so expect Zio Carletto to offer them a few minutes as well. (Milan, of course doesn’t have any stars, really more just fan favorites, so hopefully the fans will see some of those.) All I know is that if you compare Cristiano Ronaldo and Milan keeper Michael Agazzi, there are more than universes between them. Kind of like comparing billionaire Silvio Berlusconi’s bank accounts with mine.

Umm... Galliani? The bicycle/clothes thing was just supposed to be an analogy.

While both teams have a rich history, only one is actually rich on and off the pitch right now. With 17 Champions League trophies between them, you would expect to see some decent football. But that would only be if you haven’t followed Milan lately. At least it will be nice to see Ancelotti and Inzaghi together, and maybe to see some of our players that haven’t been getting much time if any get a little run out. Like a lot of family reunions, it’s probably best to keep expectations low on this one. After all, when the rich Spanish brother pulls up in his Lamborghini with his Armani suit and surgically enhanced WAG, there’s not a lot that the poor Italian brother can do to hide his rusty old bicycle and his threadbare clothes. Friendly or not, the differences in fortunes are going to show on the pitch, so don’t lose too much sleep on this one (especially if the game is at 8am like it is for me here.) Remember, family reunions can be both painful and overrated.


This post inspired by the music of Sister Sledge’s “We are Family”


Real Madrid vs. Milan
Tuesday, December 30 • 17:00 CET (11am EST)
This match is being shown on BeIN Sport in the U.S.
Check comments for stream links ahead of the match