With the Christmas season upon us, I like to reflect on what I would like to see for Milan next year. We are in a strange place, suspended between owners, so much uncertainty for the future. And yet we’ve gotten some amazing results this year. Despite a loss to Roma and a draw to Atalanta and falling from third to fifth on the table, our season to date has been nothing short of remarkable. Given our previous years’ seasons, it’s nothing short of miraculous that we are playing for the Supercoppa on Friday. But reflecting on the past four years, I found a couple of old Christmas videos from that fateful year of 2012 that might lend some perspective on my wish list this year. Oh, and as for the videos, you’re welcome.
In addition to the sobering fact that Abate and De Sciglio are the only players in the video that are left from 2012, there are De Sciglio’s dance moves. Try to get those images out of your head, I dare you. Additionally, my children have been instructed that should they ever see anyone remotely resembling Marco Amelia with a Santa hat, they are to run and scream for help. Because that’s just creepy. But the aesthetics aside, you see in that small representation of that year’s squad a mixture of older and younger players, of quality and experience. You also see the lack of patience we had with a player like Acerbi. He has truly proven that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, after battling cancer not just once, but twice, he is one of the top defenders in Serie A and is now being sought after by bigger clubs. So from that experience, I take my first Christmas wish for my beloved Milan: Patience.
We need patience not only with our younger players, but with the players we have who perhaps have less quality than we like. Or even those who are immensely talented. Niang, for example, missed two penalties in a row and has still not returned to form after being out injured. But after the Roma game, you’d have thought he was killing babies or something. I know I am not alone in believing in his potential and also remembering the brilliance we have already seen. Even the best players in the world have rough games or even rough seasons. Take Marco van Basten, for example. He was literally injured more often than not at Milan, and yet his legendary status is unquestionable. If we are more patient with the players we have, we are more likely to discover new legends.
Speaking of legends, what about pretty much every player attempting to speak Chinese in that video, also from 2012. An interesting precursor to where we sit now, poised to become owned by Chinese investors. Was all of that interest in China back then truly just trying to market to a big audience? Or was it the flirting that led us to this shaky altar of a deal with the Sino Europe group? Either way, it brings me to the other Christmas wish I have for Milan: Transparency and Resolution.
Transparency is something many of us have longed for for some time now. And with this new group, we hoped we were getting it. But they won’t even disclose who they are, and when Maldini refused their offer, they responded like teenagers on social media. Can’t we all just get along? And by get along, I mean reveal yourselves and maybe even introduce yourselves? Along those lines, could we also just close the deal? I mean if it’s not going to work, fine. Dump it. But stop stringing us along like a girl using a guy for free dinners and jewelry. Milan is not that kind of guy. Please just give us some resolution.
|Trophies like that are won with talent, hard work, and good character|
Finally, I would wish for Character. This young team has so much potential. But they also have some limitations, and it’s obvious we still need some quality and experience in the squad. However, if somehow the mercato fairy comes along and wants to bless us with some new players, I would say that character should be at least as important as talent. Not only do we need no-drama players to keep rebuilding, but we need people who can mentor our young team. We need players who can weather the storm of changing ownership, players who keep their heads on and off the pitch. I mean I wouldn’t mind some serious quality, either, but this is a time where I believe firmly that being a good person will be every bit as important as being a good footballer.
So that is what I want for Christmas. I don’t need physical presents, I don’t need material things. But I do need my Milan to continue to rebuild and become strong again. If we can find patience with our players, some transparency and resolution from management, and more character as we build our squad, then perhaps we’ll have a happy Milan New Year. And that is all I want for Christmas.
This post inspired by Milan past, present, and future
Our next match is
Juventus vs. Milan
Friday, December 23 • 11:30am EST