Things are not well at Cagliari. They may be in 14th place on the table, with more than twice as many points as the three relegation zone teams, but they have conceded the most goals in the league, at 42. So far. Their hero-turned-villain, goalkeeper Marco Storari, has seen 36 of those goals hit the back of the net himself. And now it seems that he is being pushed out in a move that will directly impact Milan. Maybe. Or perhaps this game will change that. What we do know is that a loan swap deal that was said to be hours away from being done was suddenly postponed until after this game. No one has said why, but maybe Milan just wanted to keep on winning.
|Injuring teammates, or the Storari Special™, is what he does when he's a hero|
I have had so very much to say about this loan swap deal between Storari and Gabriel. Cagliari should benefit and Gabriel would get playing time, but it could impact Milan long past the six month loan term. Earlier this week, Cagliari officials said that Storari asked to leave Cagliari, but that he was a “model professional.” Yesterday, Storari said he did not ask to leave. Both sides are trying to paint a pretty picture of him, I suppose for maximum marketability, with Storari reminding fans of his past heroic days at the club. This after his public fighting with both coach and management. Interestingly, Storari met with Milan earlier this week and then denied that he had asked to leave Cagliari. It was also after that meeting that the deal was postponed until after the match. Huh. Maybe they’re just waiting until he turns 40 tomorrow, rescuing him from himself as both a birthday present and to show Milan’s commitment to youth.
But Storari is neither the only Marco nor the only ex-Milan player currently at Cagliari. Marco Borriello, in his quest to love as many clubs as he has women, and having already played for STD-like exes such as Roma and Juventus, has four goals in seven appearances for gli Isolani this season. Jokes aside, he should be feared. And not just for once serving a ban due to treating the STD. He’s like the ex who slept with all of your female family members after breaking up with you, but still waits for you every night in the alley with a baseball bat.
|Still stalking Milan after all of these years|
Two other Marcos with no Milan history are defender Marco Capuano and striker Marco Sau. The latter also has four goals, but in 16 matches so far. Don’t let that fool you, though, he was one of the forces that destroyed the mighty Guspini Terralba 5-0 in a friendly training match with Cagliari yesterday. And before the break, Cagliari actually beat the trauma center that is Sassuolo this season. Granted, Sassuolo played on ten men for an hour. And Rafael, in goal instead of the benched Storari, still conceded three goals, too. But it was also a very valuable three points. For that win, Massimo Rastelli lined up Rafael; Alves, Salamon, Capuano, Pisacane, Farias, Di Gennaro, Barella, Padoin, Dessena, and Giannetti. Borriello is doubtful as he has just returned to training after an ankle injury, and Padoin is suspended for this match due to card accumulation. Ionita and Melchiorri will also miss this one due to injury.
Milan could go either way. They could be energized by beating Juventus on penalties to win the Supercoppa just before Christmas, or they could still be hung over from all of the celebrations. It’s really hard to know how all of the travel, travel delays, winning, weight training with the trophy, etc. will do to our young squad because most of them haven’t won a trophy before. Certainly Abate, who won both the previous Supercoppa and the last Scudetto with Milan is behaving strangely.
With both Calabria and Mati Fernandez returning to training this week, only Montolivo is out injured. Is that just too perfect a scenario? Everyone else in the squad fit. And so long as there is not a trophy to be besmirched, we shouldn’t even have to see everyone’s favorite captain. It’s perfect. I will say I will kinda miss Luiz Adriano, who is reportedly only a medical away from joining Spartak Moscow. Gabriel will be watching closely, as he could be standing behind that dreadful defense in a Cagliari kit as soon as next week. Poor kid, he deserves better.
|Out with the old, and in with the young player returning from injury|
The first game after the holidays is always tricky. If our players were lucky enough to not wake up to coal this morning, maybe La Befana will have given them some focus. Will that winning mentality we’ve seen have transformed into a kind of winning muscle memory? Or will the curse of the ex-es spoil the bringing home of the Supercoppa? Let’s see if the fans will even return to San Siro to see our trophy winners play. Hopefully, despite all of the distraction of a potential keeper swap, Milan will find a way to keep on winning.
This post inspired by the music of The Crystal Method’s “Keep Hope Alive”
Buona Befana to all! May the spirit of Ibrafana bless us with 3 points on Sunday!
Milan vs. Cagliari
Sunday, January 8 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.