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Showing posts from August, 2016

Meager Mercato

While some Serie A teams have enjoyed a feast of a mercato, Milan are experiencing yet another famine. After the €90m gifts that seemed like a feast to Milan fans last year failed to rescue a team in perpetual trauma, Berlusconi’s announcement that he would be selling the club fueled dreams of a mercato to end all mercati. But even selling the club in a timely manner was too much to ask for, with the late announcement preventing much of anything happening, it feels like once again, Milan fans are left starving with their empty hands out.

Napoli 4, Milan 2: Southern Discomfort

Montella said he was happy with the performance, but he might be the only one. I mean it’s Napoli, I don’t think we’ve won there in like five years or something, but the performance had very few highlights. There were twelve cards, with a coach and two players sent off, and three stitches in Albiol’s face. I’m not even sure if Sarri should be happy with his team’s performance, despite the four goals. It was all a bit of Southern discomfort.

Napoli vs. Milan: Holding the Ball

Napoli-Milan Preview: Southern Pride

Saturday we head south to Napoli. They are always a club to be feared, particularly when playing at the San Paolo. But this year, they have some fears of their own. After selling their capo cannoniere Higuain to direct and hated rivals Juventus, they seem to be afraid of winning. That was especially true last week when they were away to Pescara and were down 2-0, and were only able to claw their way back to a 2-2 draw. They still have plenty of talent, and many have speculated that losing Higuain simply opens up even more scoring options. But don’t tell that to the fans. They are still “mourning” in their own special way. It’s that good old fashioned Southern pride.

Poll: 2016 Predictions

With the mercato closing in a little over a week and the season opener in the books, I thought today would be a good time to take a poll to see where everyone thinks we’ll be in the league at the end of December when we face Juventus in the Super Coppa. That would hopefully be after the club sale closes, and looking into a mercato with €100m to potentially spend thanks to the Sino Europe group. So take the polls and feel free to let us know why you voted the way you did or whatever in the comment section.

Milan 3, Torino 2: Diversion

First I have to say that one diversion for me were Torino’s away kits. They all looked like beauty pageant contestants, with a sash that said “Suzuki.” So I kept giggling thinking that they were all apparently competing in a Mr. Suzuki pageant or something. But giggling aside, winning our season opener was such a positive for Milan. We had only won one of the past five openers, so it was really important. And with a fairly empty San Siro, the win will be important for coming matches, too. But the win was also a bit of a diversion from the issues of recent years and even weeks, a very refreshing diversion indeed.

Milan-Torino Preview: Karma

When your eccentric billionaire owner runs your club into the ground, then twists the knife in your back by inexplicably firing the best thing that happened to the club in recent years, then proceeds to trash that coach in the media, you have to know that it’s all going to come back and haunt you. The coach who was fired, is of course Mihajlovic, and he is bringing Torino to the San Siro to haunt us. Though historically, Milan have done well against Torino, the summer fixtures are reversed this time around. So a Milan win or even a draw would be a great way to start the season, but beware of Karma.

Quattro Stelle: 2006 - Semifinals & Final

This is the twelfth and final post in a weekly series highlighting Italy’s four World Cup wins from qualifications to the finals.Read the eleventh post here.
Although it has now been ten years, I remember Italy’s 2006 win like it was yesterday. And even if the events off the pitch seem to still impact Italian football, I will always remember that day when talent triumphed over greed, football over corruption. Nothing can take away the exquisite joy of Italy lifting its fourth World Cup.

Podcast: Transformation

It’s hard to believe what has and hasn’t happened this summer. With a preliminary agreement finally in place, an unimpressive preseason, and a very light mercato, fans are left to meter their excitement with a large dose of reality. With the new season starting up before the physical transformation of the club and our team, it’s harder to be excited or optimistic about the first half of our season. I think most fans are watching as closely to see what happens off of the pitch with our transformation.

Preseason Anxiety

Last summer at this point, we were at least cautiously optimistic, with the club having invested approximately €90m during the transfer window. We also had a coach who had a good track record and was very passionate and outspoken (translation: easy to believe in.) So although we were still missing some pieces and still clinging to some dead weight, many fans really believed we could get back into Europe last season. But this year… it’s all so strange. When the preliminary agreement to sell the club was signed, some people acted like we won the lottery. But it’s really more like when your dad takes a new job at a new company and there is the opportunity in the future for more pay, but you need new shoes now. With the sale delayed for so long, we are limping into this season with a very minimal mercato and a coach who doesn’t have as much success under his belt. Plus, those friendlies… some of the scorelines ended okay, but if you watched the games, it was more than enough to give you …

Is Milan Better Than a Newly Promoted Bundesliga Side?

What kind of gameshow is this, that fans wait all summer for their hopes and dreams, only to be disappointed both on and off the pitch? And tomorrow that gameshow takes us to Germany. Freiburg, specifically. To play a friendly with the newly promoted Bundesliga team who copied our kit color scheme this year. A Milan side prior to 2012 would be expected to dominate this match with our bench players. But given the performances thus far this summer, you just have to sit back and ask yourself: Is Milan better than a newly promoted Bundesliga side?

Quattro Stelle: 2006 - Round of 16 and Quarterfinals

This is the eleventh and penultimate post in a weekly series highlighting Italy’s four World Cup wins from qualifications to the finals. Read the tenth post here.
The knockout stages would feature a big change at this World Cup - the loss of the “Golden Goal.” Instead, if the game was tied at the end of regulation, the teams would play two 15 minute overtime periods, regardless of any goals. Following this, the match would be determined by a penalty shootout.
The new Added Extra Time (a.e.t.) rule alone would be applied once in the Round of 16 and again in the semifinals until a result was produced. The a.e.t. rule plus penalty shootouts would be used once in the Round of 16, twice in the quarterfinals, and most memorably in the final.

The Notorious Trofeo TIM

I know you’ve been waiting for this day since last year. Certainly Montolivo has, as this bizarre tournament is one of the only chances he has at lifting a trophy. In just three non-FIFA-sanctioned 45 minute matches (and possibly some penalty shoot-outs,) one lucky team will take home a trophy. A shiny, meaningless trophy. It has all of the excitement of laundry day, but without all of the clean clothes. Forget about that worldwide gathering of athletes that only happens every four years. This is the notorious Trofeo TIM.

Marco Fassone: Milan’s Future?

Every Milan fan should want to learn as much as possible about this man by the end of the sale closing later this year. (If the sale does close, that is.) Fassone has specifically been named in the paperwork to become the CEO of Milan. And while jokes about his appearance are rampant, fans might be pleasantly surprised if they google just a little further than images. Some may feel he is not an ideal candidate, but Milan could certainly do worse. And the more I learn about him, the more optimistic I am that he could be the key to Milan’s future.

Cautious Elation

No lie, I woke up at 5am yesterday morning (not of my own choosing,) and decided to look at the news, knowing Gomez was taking his medicals today. But what I saw was the preliminary agreement for the sale of the club had finally been signed, and it was a very pleasant surprise (especially at that hour.) Like everything else, I tend to take these things with a grain of salt. And reading through the agreement, I had a lot of questions. But I also couldn’t help believe that it was finally going to happen. And even if some of it is much later than many of us wanted, the whole day yesterday was a day of cautious elation.

Quattro Stelle: 2006 - Qualifications & Group Stages

This is the tenth post in a weekly series highlighting Italy’s 4 World Cup wins from qualifications to the finals. Read the ninth post here.
Most if not all of us remember the events of 2006 well, but I will try to briefly recap them here as I have similarly done with the other three World Cups. Feel free to add your own thoughts and memories for the matches within each post in the comments section.
The bid for the 2006 World Cup was handed to Germany in July of 2000, but had been expected to go to South Africa at the time. Also of note with this World Cup was the biggest TV rights deal in FIFA history at the time, when the United States paid $425 million for the rights to broadcast in both English and Spanish all of the World Cup events through 2014. Marketing also became a controversial issue with major sponsors Budweiser and Adidas getting attacked by their competitors over exclusive rights at the World Cup. In the end, football took center stage, as it should.

ICC Tournament: AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC

As I’ve written earlier this summer, friendlies are typically good tuneups for most teams and their upcoming seasons. But not for Milan, not this summer. In fact, these friendlies are likely to simply be the calm before the storm. Especially these friendlies against the “big” European clubs. Despite questions about Montella’s preferred system, no one can really blame Montella for anything at this point. Without a transfer market to speak of and with all of the delays of the sale of the club, he has to be given a free ride on these friendlies. While Milan winning another meaningless friendly sounds nice, I don’t think anyone is expecting it. So don’t hold your breath.