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The Red and Black Blues

As the clock ran down on the transfer window yesterday, there was a palpable sigh from Milan fans, and maybe a few tears, too. “The dream” was only that, and for the eighth consecutive year, Milan did not reinforce properly at the central midfielder position. Milinkovic-Savic was not coming. Not even the fans’ second choice, Rabiot. And as if that wasn’t enough to be sad about, Our Sunday game vs. Genoa was postponed after 39 people tragically lost their lives when a bridge in Genoa suddenly collapsed. It’s enough to give anyone the red and black blues.

The Milan Season Preview You’ve Been Waiting For

This is the post where I write about what to expect for this season. And once again, this season is all about expectations. After the past seven years or more at Milan, fans should have learned to temper our expectations. But with all of the changes this summer, I fear the worst for unrealistic fans. The mercato is still not quite closed, either, so that isn’t helping the expectation levels. But it is the beginning of the season, and that is always exciting, one way or the other.

Mercato of Procrastination

Milan have had a very unique summer. If you call changing ownership by default to a hedge fund and having a European ban overturned by the CAS “unique.” But those events directly impacted our mercato, more specifically, the club’s ability to make any moves in the mercato in or out. And with everything being delayed so late in the summer, it has fallen on our new management, minus an actual CEO, to work out a mercato of procrastination.

Real Madrid 3, AC Milan 1: Royal Rumble

In Spanish, “Real” translates to “Royal.” And Real Madrid have been successful at living up to their name over the years. This match was no exception, with quality play throughout and three excellent and deserved goals for the win. But something that struck me about this match is the way they respect their opponents. No whining and diving like their Catalonian adversaries. Just respecting their opponents by playing their best, then respecting the game, the ref, everything. I was impressed with the level of class, even if it was a royal rumble.

Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu: Glory Days

Tonight Milan visit Madrid to face our biggest European opponent, Real Madrid. In our glory days, Milan were Real Madrid’s biggest challenger for Champions League Titles. In 2007, when Milan last won the Champions League for our seventh title, Real Madrid had nine titles. But while Milan fell into the abyss of mismanagement, Los Blancos won four more titles, including the last three in a row. However their glory days look to be in jeopardy now that their marquee player, Cristiano Ronaldo, left the club for Serie A. While their roster is still far more competitive than Milan’s, this friendly could be a little more interesting in his absence.

Podcast: Return of the King

The long awaited Return of the King, Paolo Maldini, has finally occurred. I have a theory as to why, and it all started with one lucky fan. He won a chance to meet the team, but ended up meeting Gattuso instead. After that, Leonardo was hired on. Then Higuain and Caldara came to Milan. And finally, the return of Maldini. That is a whole lot of luck.

The Cristiano Ronaldo Effect

When I heard the news that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to Juve, my second thought was that it would mean greater access to Serie A fans for all of us. (The first thought, of course, being that they should just award the Scudetto in August before the season kicks off.) It turns out that at least for American fans, it is going to work out very well for us. Yesterday, it was announced that ESPN has purchased the exclusive rights to Serie A beginning this season. With far more resources than the shambolic BeIN Sports USA, this means that we will all have far more access to our games. I like to call it the Cristiano Ronaldo effect.

Maldini Day

We have been waiting for this day since May of 2009. The return of the living legend, Paolo Maldini, to the club of his family, the club of his life, and the club of his heart. There are so few one-club players anymore, but not only did he only ever play for Milan, his father played and coached for Milan, and in completing the Maldini Dynasty, his sons have both played for Milan’s youth teams. After being mistreated by disgusting and reprehensible Milan fans during his San Siro farewell, blocked from joining the club by the tyrant Galliani, and turning down offers to return by Yonghong Li’s initial investment group because he didn’t believe in their project, he is finally coming home. Happy Maldini Day!

AC Milan 1, Barcelona 0: Summer of 69

One out of three isn’t bad, right? Milan scraped through 90 minutes of Barcelona attack to win their final match in the International Champions Cup Tournament this year, having lost their first two. Donnarumma kept the team in the match, since the rest of the team were constantly pinned back by what was largely Barcelona’s youth team. And finally, in the last play of stoppage time, Silva stepped up and scored the lone goal, winning a game Barcelona should have easily won themselves. Ironically, he had just handed over his number nine to the more experienced newcomer, Higuain, and had just chosen his new number today, ahead of this match: number 69. His last gasp heroics make me wonder: will he be leaving the club this year? Or was this his way of telling the world that this will be his Milan breakthrough year, beginning with the Summer of 69?

AC Milan-Barcelona Preview: Sorry, Allegri

After putting a young and talented center back in a car on Wednesday to send him to AC Milan, and saying goodbye to Higuain from Atlanta while the Argentinian striker was in Turin, Allegri’s Juventus struggled to pull off a penalty win against an MLS All Star team. Maybe it was the loss of the two players, who knows? Meanwhile, his old center back, who is known to have had disagreements with the Mister, flew from Minneapolis to Turin to make a very controversial return to the club. As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, on Saturday, his nearly forgotten former club will be facing his favorite nemesis: Barcelona. Too bad, so sad. Sorry, Allegri.

Tottenham 1, AC Milan 0: So That Happened

Milan have picked up right where they left off last season, with missed chances the theme for the night. With only 44% possession, Milan took 16 shots, yet only five were on target. Yet the far more clinical Spurs took only five shots, yet three were on target. Couple our plague of not being able to score with our impressively poor defensive errors, and you get an unnecessary friendly loss. Yeah, so that happened.

Tottenham-AC Milan Preview: Gattuso’s Revenge

The last time we faced Tottenham was three years ago in the Audi Cup, when they beat us 2-0. Before that, it was in the Champions League, with the infamous Joe Jordan vs. Gennaro Gattuso matchup. Hopefully no one at Tottenham makes xenophobic remarks tonight, especially since it’s just a friendly, because we don’t need to tempt fate. Besides, it has been over a year now since Gattuso faced discipline for physical violence against someone else, it would be great to keep that streak going. I for one would like to see Gattuso’s team avenge the Jordan incident on the pitch with a win against a team whose mascot and namesake represent an ugly facet of the brutally barbaric and inhumane sport of cockfighting. I think it’s finally time for Gattuso’s Revenge.

Podcast: Milan in USA

In spite of all of the changes off the pitch, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Milan up close and personal here in Los Angeles. From stalking them at the airport to meeting Gattuso to watching them play right before my very eyes, it brought me great joy at a time when there are so many unanswered questions at the club.

AC Milan 1 (8), Manchester United 1 (9): Penalized

The only thing worse than an Interista is a Manchester United fan. And the only thing worse than a Manchester United fan is an American Manchester United fan. When they weren’t playing with beach balls, doing the wave, and trying to see themselves on the big screen during the entire game (instead of watching), they complained at every ref call, even some that went their way. Some of them chose to cheer their team only when they made a hard foul or if there was a Milan fan injured with, say, a possible head injury. But they cheered the penalties as if it was a World Cup final. I’m guessing that’s the only part of the game they understood. A shame that ignorance isn’t penalized.

AC Milan vs. Manchester United: California Dreamin’

Following two weeks of absolute turmoil at the club and with no one officially hired to replace Fassone and Mirabelli, our squad face the daunting task of focusing enough to play football again. After winning their friendly 2-0 on Friday vs. Serie B side Novara, the guys hopped on two planes to get to Los Angeles and have been maintaining a schedule that is difficult for even the most fervent fans to successfully stalk them. Not that I would ever do that, but how often do they come to Los Angeles? It’s been nine years since they were last here, so of course I’ve been stalking them. You, know, for all of you fans worldwide. Anyway, Wednesday night, at a stadium just 20 minutes away from my house, they will take on one of those English teams that Americans know the name of but have never actually seen them play. And I will be there. Will Milan win? Probably not. But who cares? I’m just California dreamin’.

Rehab

Last week marked a lot of changes at Milan. With the CAS overturning our European ban, then the shareholders’ meeting confirming the takeover by Elliott as well as changing the board, it marked the beginning of a whole new era for the club. But don’t expect it to be all sunshine and roses. Elliott have made it clear that they are not here for the fans. Their goal is a three year plan to rehabilitate Milan financially, with the goals of returning Milan to its glory as a secondary concept, and then only to support the first. So as fans, we need to be ready for the detox, withdrawals, and all of the other awful things that come with rehab.

Get Over Me

After a two year long abusive hostage relationship with Yonghong Li, Elliott Management Corporation stormed the building, took him down, and transferred us to a more stable rehabilitation center. It is reported that they will now hold us for another three years to further “rehabilitate” us. Odd that we would feel safer with the vultures in rehab, but after what we’ve been through, it really does feel more stable somehow. Just when I was emotionally preparing myself for the vulture mercato, though, Yonghong Li wrote an open letter to everyone, including us fans. So I decided to write a letter back. The message? Get over me.

Shareholders and Appeals and Friendlies, Oh My!

Our club has a lot of parallels between the story of the Wizard of Ozright now. For example, we just learned that the man behind the curtain is not an all-wealthy wizard, and so now our club is owned by a company that is much closer to Kansas than in some fantasy world. So now we are vulnerable and forced to take a path through strange woods, where we will undoubtedly meet shareholders’ meetings and appeals and friendlies… Oh my!

Podcast: Hope Is All We Have

Another change in ownership, a ban from Europe, and a zero balance mercato. When will Milan fans catch a break? So much to talk about, but nothing that we would like to be talking about. And yet as fans, we are still here, still emotionally committed to the red and black. So it seems that hope is all we have.

Stalled

I like to believe that Yonghong Li wanted to create a legacy for himself at Milan. And he seemed to want to help the growth of football in China, too. But instead, he will be remembered as the guy who held Milan’s mercato hostage twice trying to buy the club, then brought everything at the club to a screeching halt when he defaulted on his loans from Elliott Management. Between the European ban and subsequent appeal and the red tape that comes along with any change in management, Milan have just stalled.

New Kits: Look What the Cat Dragged In

When it was announced that Adidas was dropping Milan as our kit provider, we all feared the worst. Then Puma was announced as our kit provider, and we knew it would be even worse than that. Even still, I am not sure we could be prepared for the atrocious disparity between last year’s amazing Adidas first kits and the feeble offering that Puma dragged in.

Plan B

So Milan are officially owned by Elliott Management Corporation, the American hedge vulture fund that loaned Yonghong Li the cash to buy the club in the first place. This was the scenario that UEFA feared for Milan – not that Yonghong Li didn’t have the money, but rather that we would fall into the hands of a vulture fund – businessmen without morals who are just looking for a quick buck. And while UEFA themselves helped to push us into this position, it seems that Paul Singer and his Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited actually have a Plan B.

Podcast: Whatever

Raduno literally means “rally,” and that is what is supposed to happen to kick of Milan’s new season today. But what can we rally around? The new kit is poor, we don’t know if we’ll have Europe or not still, and now we don’t even know who will own the club by the time the season kicks off in five weeks. It’s hard to be excited about anything at this point, so as passionate Milan fans, sometimes we just have to say “whatever.”

Inter vs. AC Milan: The FFP Derby

The focus lately has been on AC Milan’s FFP punishment, a very harsh exclusion from European competition, reportedly primarily for “break-even” violations. But lesser known is that Inter have been sanctioned for FFP violations since 2015, and still have yet to meet their break-even requirements and thus will continue those sanctions again this year. Yet despite having consistently lost literally billions in recent decades, UEFA used kid gloves with Inter. Whereas Milan, who have been more consistently successful on and off the pitch up until the last few years of Berlusoni’s ownership, were thrown under the bus and run over with a very questionable ruling by UEFA.

The Penalty Shootout

There are many cruel and horrible things in this world that man inflicts upon himself. But in football, none are more cruel than the penalty shootout to determine the winner of a match. And, of course, the loser. Even worse when the shootout determines whether your team stays or goes home in a tournament. The most cruel, of course is when a penalty shootout determines who wins the world title and lifts the trophy, and who relives their missed penalty over and over obsessively for the rest of their lives as the loser. After 90 minutes of nonstop running, then another 30, the slightest error or the heroics of an opposition goalkeeper – just a split second – determines which players go home with tears of joy and which players go home with tears of agony. It’s literally the worst.

Maldini at 50

The legendary Paolo Maldini turned 50 last Tuesday. Although he retired from football in 2009, he still manages to keep busy with new adventures. But his birthday was also a chance to reflect on that incredible football career, as well as his life in general. He answered 50 questions from La Gazzetta dello Sport, and RossoneriBlog kindly translated them into English for us. If you click any link on this blog ever, please click that one and read every answer, you won’t be disappointed.

Hostage Situation

Perhaps Yonghong Li thinks all club purchases take eleven months. Or maybe he does everything at the last minute. But once again, he’s got the hopes and dreams of all Milanisti wrapped around his finger. Only this time, he’s also got our mercato and the UEFA appeal tied up, too. Not too mention the majority shares of the club all of us love so much. Milan fans find ourselves once again in a hostage situation.