Tonight is Milan’s first friendly of the preseason. As the team have traveled to Bordeaux, it was with heavy hearts, their hearts filled with sorrow for the victims of the Nice attack. Even if Bordeaux is completely across the country from Nice, it is a country in mourning yet again. And while Milan fans have been incredibly frustrated with the lack of completion of the sale of the club and therefore no movement in the mercato, the events in France help us to put things in perspective and focus on more important things like the value of human life, the freedom to play football, and our ability to mourn with the families of the victims of tragedy. So what was initially just going to be a friendly has become a little more meaningful. Not just another Saturday in Bordeaux.
|What kind of Milan team will show up?|
This matchup is actually a rematch of a UEFA Cup Quarterfinal played twenty years ago in Bordeaux. Despite the fact that Milan had the likes of Baresi, Costacurta, Maldini, Vieira, Desailly, Baggio, and Weah in their lineup, Bordeaux won that match 3-0. True, there was an assist from some guy called Zidane on one of those goals, but Bordeaux were seriously underdogs then. They lost the second leg at the San Siro, but still went through on aggregate, and their fairy tale took them all the way to the final that year, where they unfortunately lost to Bayern Munich.
Fast forward twenty years, and despite the fact that Bordeaux finished 14th in Ligue 1 this season, while Milan finished seventh in Serie A, I would say that Milan might actually be the underdogs this time. After four long years of douchebaggery, Milan are in limbo right now, with a new coach who will debut tonight in the red and black. Bordeaux have to be drawing on the magic of that fairy tale UEFA Cup run all those years ago, and having changed coaches in March, have the advantage of having played together longer. Not to mention home advantage. And maybe a cause, if they play for their fallen countrymen in Nice.
|Is he saying "Don't judge me on my debut, it's only a friendly?"|
Montella left some players behind for various reasons, including Honda, Lapadula, Vangioni, and Montolivo. But those he did call up are: Donnarumma, Gabriel, Livieri, Abate, Antonelli, Calabria, De Santis, Ely, Paletta, Romagnoli, Vergara, Bertolacci, Bonaventura, Crociata, El Hilali, Suso, gabbia, Mauri, Poli, Zanellato, Adriano, Menez, Niang, and Vido.
The players report that his style of football is heavy on possession, and we also know he has tried both a 4-3-1-2 and a 4-3-3 in training. But how has he done with the squad’s mentality? That is the biggest barrier. Particularly since none of the players know who will even own the club much longer, and many are awaiting transfers in and out before the team is set.
|Bordeaux seem WAY too excited to face us.|
Other than that, I honestly have no idea what we’ll see tonight. I do think this was a good team to kick off our friendlies with, as they will be comparable in quality and abilities and help to show where the team is at. But my heart is heavy, too, and my thoughts go out to the people of France at this time. So I will likely be somewhat distracted. It’s just a friendly after all, and with so much up in the air, I cannot take anything too seriously at this point. So as a nation mourns, we can count our blessings that we can enjoy an evening of football in Bordeaux.
This post inspired by the music of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”
Bordeaux vs. AC Milan
Saturday, July 16 • 20:00 CEST (2pm EDT)
This match will NOT be shown live in the U.S.