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Podcast: The Donnarumma Rant

There is plenty to talk about at the end of the season, especially our first full season under our new management. But in addition to everything on the pitch, fans have created a controversy that is literally larger than life. And I am not happy about it. So for this episode, you get to hear me rant. A lot.

Milan 5, Fiorentina 1: Happy Ending

This post may turn up in searches for non-football related activities, and for that I apologize. But I couldn’t think of a better title for it after such a roller coaster season. We bought 12 new players, downgraded our coach, played weird formations, had problems scoring goals, and so much more. But today, we are all smiles. And after all, who doesn’t like a happy ending?

Milan vs. Fiorentina: All In

Either they forgot where they parked or they just realized how much depends on this match

Milan-Fiorentina Preview: It All Comes Down to This

Despite a turbulent season where 12 new players came in and we downgraded our coach with surprising results, going into our last match, Milan are in the same spot we were last season. Only with this match, we have the possibility of actually finishing lower. Having massively choked in the Coppa Italia and then given up a late goal to Atalanta last week to drop more points, we have 90 minutes to prove ourselves worthy of sixth place. It all comes down to this.

Milan Class

When Bonucci came to Milan, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When he was given the captain’s armband, I was just grateful he was rescuing us from Montolivo. Anyone had to be better than him. But as events unfolded this year, I can honestly say that I think in addition to all that he has given to Milan, Milan has been good to him, given him more integrity. In contrast to his former Juventus captain, it seems that he got out just in time and has been blessed with Milan class.

Atalanta 1, Milan 1: Deluge

t wasn’t just pouring rain from the sky today in Bergamo, there was also a deluge of cards. Twelve cards, to be exact, ten yellow and two red. The most in any Serie A match this season. The two forms of heavy precipitation were probably related, as players were slipping and sliding into each other for 90 minutes plus stoppage time. But conceding an equalizer in stoppage time, Milan only took a point out of the match, leaving our Europa League qualifying hanging until the final matchday next week.

Atalanta-Milan Preview: The Penultimate Final

Milan have two chances for direct qualification into the Europa League, and Sunday’s is the next to the last one. Rather ironic that our last two games would be contested with the teams who are within a point or two behind us on the table, and Atalanta are the team that are exactly one point behind us going into this match. Which makes a result in this, the penultimate final, a necessity.

Coppa Italia Final • Juventus 4, Milan 0: Don’t Pack Your Bags Yet

Milan were destroyed by Juventus, I’m not going to sugar coat anything here. Once again, the disparity between a club that has been shrewdly and carefully rebuilding since 2006-07 and now needs a moving van for their trophies and this Milan was glaringly blatant. Despite needing a moving van for the amount of cash we invested last summer, Milan are trying to repair the sinkhole Berlusconi and Galliani made of this club. And so far, it’s going about as well as this game did for us. Which is sad, because if had Milan managed the upset, we would be qualified for the Europa League Group Stages right now, and the team would be definitely coming to the U.S. this summer. But now we have to play two games, two finals, to see where we end up on the table and if we can play in the ICC Tournament or not. So don’t pack your bags yet.

Coppa Italia Final • Juventus vs. Milan: Hardware

Anything that is hard in life is worth having. That includes hardware. As in the Coppa Italia trophy. That also comes with a magic patch that we could put on those awful new Puma kits to dress them up a bit next season. Plus there’s bragging rights. Beating the team that is likely to lift a seventh consecutive Scudetto here in a couple of weeks is worth bragging about. It would also take a bit of the sting off of a season that didn’t live up to everyone’s dreams. But it would also mean automatic qualification into the Europa League group stages. And that gives the team the opportunity to come here to the U.S. to see me… I mean to play in the ICC tournament and make some serious cash while they frolic under the Southern California sun... sorry, I was daydreaming. Let’s just say that this match is all about the hardware.

Podcast: Confusion

After a season of hot and cold performances, looming ahead of us is a cold, dark mercato where there is more confusion than clarity. Despite a meeting with UEFA and a shareholder’s meeting, there are more questions than answers coming from management. And to make matters worse, the future of Mirabelli at Milan is also swirling with rumors and speculation, leaving us further in the depths of confusion.

Milan 4, Verona 1: Effective

There’s a word that’s been missing when describing this Milan squad since the International Break, really. That word is effective. Today they stayed focused and put the game to bed early and thoroughly. Granted, they did concede that pesky goal. But the word is “effective,” not “perfect.” And effective was enough to get 3 points.

Milan-Verona Preview: Concentration

There is a game called Concentration, also known as Memory. There are a number of pairs of cards, face down, and the object is to turn over two at a time, hoping for a match. Milan have a game on Saturday that will require their full concentration, only the only thing we really need to match is three points at the end of the game. We don’t need to play pretty football, although that would be ideal. And technically, we don’t even need a clean sheet. Just a win and three points. But to get them, we’ll need everyone’s full concentration.

What the Hell, Italy?

I don’t even know where to begin. I guess let’s start with the elephant in the universe: Italy is not going to the World Cup this year. Why? On the surface, it seems they struggle with finding a good coach, appropriate callups, not enough talent, not enough youth, etc. But it goes so much deeper than that. There is an infrastructure that was created by the actual dinosaurs who lived in the area now known as Italy that has not been updated since. And there is a culture of suspicion, intolerance, and corruption that is even older than those dinosaurs. Calciopoli was both a product of and disastrous result of a complete lack of accountability and integrity, not only within football, but in the country and within the culture. The same culture that brought so much to the world in the form of art, architecture, fashion, amazing food and wine, and other things is also one of the ugliest when it comes to sportsmanship, character, and basic human decency. What the hell, Italy?

Bologna 1, Milan 2: Git ‘er Done

I’m not particularly proud, but we got the three points. We played… well, we scored two goals and got the win, so that’s all that matters. Nevermind that the 12th place team on the table pinned us back for much of the match and had two goals disallowed, taking twelve shot with a ridiculously clinical seven on target. Nevermind that our squad took a beating, with injuries potentially lurking postmatch. At the end of the day, we were desperate for the three points, and more desperate for the mental boost those points could give us. As my redneck friends here in ‘Murica say, “Git ‘er done.”

Bologna-Milan Preview: Digging Deeper

Milan are in a tailspin of six games without a win. But for two of those games, against league leaders Juventus and Napoli, we actually performed very well, just didn’t get the result against superior teams. If you look at the table or the scores alone, it would seem to be a big problem. But it’s really not. Milan have matched their opponents in every one of these matches, and all they need to do to stop the spiral down the table is dig a little deeper.

Who’s to Blame?

Rumors continue to gather like a large storm brewing about Mirabelli’s job being in doubt, particularly with him starting to make public statements defending himself and his work. Despite Milan investing over €200m in the mercato last summer, we can at best only match our position on the table from last year. And despite Montella already being sacked, at this point, fingers are being pointed. With a bumpy start to the season, then a surprising success, followed by a six game winless streak, Gattuso oddly seems to have job security. Particularly since he was just handed a new three year contract with a 1667% raise. Ironically, Mirabelli’s work has come into question not only due to the poor results, but also because it was apparently his idea to promote Gattuso in the first place.

Podcast: Broken

In six days we played three games and went from good to okay to the worst just like that. We also lost another starter to a season-ending injury. Milan’s scoring problem is finally unable to be ignored, and the historic worst game was enough to suck the life out of the most optimistic and enthusiastic Milan supporters. Despite some good news entwined with the bad, it just feels like Milan are broken.

Milan 0, Benevento 1: Dark Magic

It’s the only explanation: Dark magic. Those witches put a hex on Milan. How else do you explain losing at home to the 20th place team, who were on 10 men, and have the worst defense in the league this season, having conceded 78 goals? How can even Milan, for whom scoring has not been easy this year, not score on that team? At least take a point? And now we are the only team in Serie A to not beat Benevento this year. We were the laughing stock of Serie A when we played them in November, but now we just sad and pathetic, like the guy in this video.

Milan-Benevento Preview: Are You a Good Witch? Or a Bad Witch?

This fixture could be hexed. If you’ll remember, the away fixture was Gattuso’s Serie A debut, and it was anything but magical. But now “Le Streghe” or “the Witches” are coming to the San Siro. Will they bring their brooms? Or would that be considered Quidditch? I don’t know. But when they do arrive, much like when Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz finds herself unexpectedly in Oz, I think it’s fair to ask them “Are you a good witch? Or a bad witch?”

Torino 1, Milan 1: Parody

Since Gattuso started coaching Milan in November, they have been developing their own style of play. And for a good part of this calendar year, that worked out really well for us. But lately, the team have been mirroring their opponents’ level of play. So for Juventus and Napoli, that was great, because the team played really well. It wasn’t so great for Inter and Sassuolo, who play very poor football. Going into this match, we should have not only guessed that we would pull off another draw, but also known that we would play down to Torino’s level. Although I’m not even sure we played that well, it was more of a parody.

Torino-Milan Preview: The Lorenzo Derby

It is well known that Bonucci’s older son, Lorenzo, is a massive Torino fan. It created a lot of problems while his father played at Juventus, seeing as they are crosstown rivals. For example, Lorenzo was caught on camera just crying horribly as his father made him wear a Juve jersey for a Scudetto celebration, it was like child abuse or something. At least his father did the right thing afterwards and took him to a Torino game to meet Lorenzo’s idol, Belotti. I like to think their relationship has improved, even though when Torino came to Milan in November, Belotti was seen giving little Lorenzo his match jersey and a kiss as his father walked by. It seems like Lorenzo mainly supports his father now that he’s at Milan… except when we play Torino.

Milan 0, Napoli 0: Neutralized

For once, not getting three points was not a problem for me. Because Napoli. Granted, we played them while they were not at their best this season, but even still they are playing some of the best football in Serie A. And we matched them, kept a clean sheet, and earned some footballing respect. Poor Napoli were simply neutralized.

Milan-Napoli Preview: Frightfest

There is nothing more frightening than being accused of territorial discrimination. Only slightly less frightening is playing Napoli. Which means that we are in for a real frightfest. Because not only are we playing Napoli, but we will be under scrutiny for territorial discrimination. But at least I can help with the latter. Nothing I can do about facing Napoli, we just have to hide under the covers and wait it out until it’s over.

Pride and Shame

I was planning this post to be about how well Roma and Juve represented Italy in the Champions League this week. I don’t even know if there are words for how proud I am of Roma. They smashed records, astonished even their biggest skeptics, and went swimming in ancient fountains to celebrate. Then offered to pay for the refurbishing of said fountain to the tune of €230 thousand. But then came Juve’s game. They also surprised and impressed by overturning a 3-0 deficit… away. But when a penalty was awarded to Real Madrid, they showed their true colors. Which for Buffon, was a straight red. And Chiellini motioned to Real Madrid players as if they had paid off the refs. And then came the public statements. Apparently, Juventus no longer have any shame. But certainly, to Serie A, they brought a lot of shame.

Podcast: Team Gattuso

We hit a bit of a wall in our march toward a return to Champions League, with a loss and two draws in our last three matches. But whatever frustration we have with results and injuries, we also are blessed with a great leader to see us through the tough times. Whatever differences people may have, the one thing I think we can all agree on is that we are all on Team Gattuso.

Milan 1, Sassuolo 1: Define Clinical

Have you ever seen the prank where people put plastic wrap over the toilet but under the toilet seat? It keeps everything out of the toilet and can be very messy for the unwitting person, or so I’m told. That was like Sassuolo's net in this match, and Consigli was the plastic wrap keeping the ball out of it. With 22 shots and eight on target, we should have absolutely taken more from this match. And while we had some great shots and Consigli had some even better saves to stop them, we could have done better. Perhaps Gattuso should define clinical.

Milan-Sassuolo Preview: Back to Work

After two disappointing results in two big and important games, Milan need to haul in as many points as possible from our remaining fixtures and pray for teams above us to choke… a lot… to have any hope of Champions League next season. One we don’t have any control over, but how many points we grab is completely up to us… and maybe a little to VAR, we’ll see. The point is, we have to get back to work and get back to winning. Every point counts at this point in the season.

Milan 0, Inter 0: Until the Death

The Curva Sud proved once again that they deserve to be in the Champions League of coreografia. Their clever, well-executed and amazing coreo proclaiming “Until the Death” made Inter’s pathetic coreo look like an 80 year-old woman designed it. One was worthy of the fierce battle that would play out over the next 90 minutes, one wouldn’t even make a Hallmark greeting card. And so it was that Milan fought to the death, while Inter made their own life difficult for them and had nothing to smile about at the end of the match. Despite the fact that Inter physically dominated much of the match, Milan held them off… until the death.