Skip to main content

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.

That moment when...

Milan fans didn’t all embrace Bonucci immediately, especially when he struggled a bit with his new teammates and Montella’s tactics on the pitch at the beginning of the season. But his leadership became more and more apparent as the season continued, and more fans embraced the ex-Juventus defender. However the moment where it was evident that he had been infused with Milan class was after the win over Verona. He was walking off the pitch and he noticed a young man with Down Syndrome, so he went over to talk with him. Cameras caught the sweet moment when he also warmly embraced the young man, and it was beautiful and touching that he would reach out to him like that.

Not just a sweet moment

There was more to it than what we saw, though. It was what Bonucci learned from Ermanno, the young man he met, that demonstrated true Milan class. Bonucci gave him his armband, but Ermanno gave Bonucci so much more. Ahead of the Coppa Italia match, our captain shared his story:

“I was able to spend time with him after the match and realized something: he never once mentioned the word ‘match.’ It was a celebration for him. A party. A show. The way he experienced it was simply joy, with unstoppable enthusiasm that proved contagious for all around him, including my family.

“Ermanno taught me that you can transform a very antagonistic and hard-fought match into a respectful spectacle that reflects the values of sport. Too often we lose sight of the real point of our sport. Let’s enjoy the festival and give some entertainment to the millions of fans watching.” (via football-italia.net)

Not what Bonucci gave to Ermanno, but what Ermanno gave to Bonucci

That he was able to learn so much from a person whom so many would just walk by shows a level of class not often seen in football anymore. Particularly when juxtaposed to his former captain’s behaviors recently. Buffon will be sanctioned later this month by UEFA for his complete meltdown after his last Champions League match. It wasn’t just the red card or what he said on the pitch, it was especially his comments afterwards, which even inspired death threats to both the ref and his wife by Juventus fans. And it wasn’t just his behavior in the moment, it was the fact that he didn’t even apologize, which even Gattuso insisted that he would when he calmed down. Buffon has gradually lost class over the past five years or so, saying worse and worse things in the media, with fewer and fewer regrets. Couple that with other statements from other players and even management at Juventus, there is an ugly sense of entitlement growing with their continuous wins on the pitch. So strange to behave like losers when winning.

The opposite of class

Milan certainly don’t have that problem, and maybe that humility is what is needed to maintain the Milan class. Although winning never impacted our Milan legends like that, so maybe it’s just the crest. Certainly, Bonucci has learned much in his first year at Milan in both humility and class, wearing the Milan crest. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to watch his team win first the Coppa Italia final and then secure their seventh consecutive Scudetto all in the same week. Especially after winning so much with them in recent years. But then I remembered that he is partying with Ermanno now, something we could all remember to do more often. And I know that even in losing, he has his dignity, unlike the Juventus captain anymore. And he also has something he never had at Juventus: Milan class.


This post inspired by the music of “Inno Milan”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 38
Milan vs. Fiorentina
Sunday, May 20 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)