Milan 2, Frosinone 0: Con il Milan nel Cuore nel Sempre

This was a must-win match against a side who were already relegated. On paper, Milan should have destroyed Frosinone. But matches aren’t played on paper, they are played with blood, sweat, and tears. And they are played with heart. With this being Milan’s last home match of the year, there was at least one person for whom this match was played completely with his heart. It was Abate’s last match for Milan at the San Siro, and when he was subbed off to a 61,000 fan ovation, he revealed what was in his heart: Milan. Forever.

Real men do cry... when it comes to Milan

You may have heard the phrase “Con il Milan nel cuore” before, it is in Milan’s anthem. Translated, we might say “with Milan in the heart,” although the English doesn’t do it justice. Adding “nel sempre” means “forever.” Abate’s shirt read “with Milan forever in the heart.” And if that didn’t get you at least choked up, watching our fierce warrior of ten years plus his time in the youth sector cry his eyes out should have also made you cry.

Or perhaps it was the first half, which would make any football fan cry, it was so poor. But it took an almost heartbreaking turn just after the second half started and Abate conceded a penalty and was awarded a yellow card. No. It just couldn’t end like this. Abate has been through everything we fans have been through in the last ten years and more, and has sweat blood for the crest. No.

Gigio's got your back, Abate

Luckily, his young friend Gigio agreed with me, it couldn’t end like this. So he stepped up and saved Ciano’s penalty and his teammate’s day. While the players seemed more motivated coming back out onto the pitch after halftime, that save was the catalyst for a much improved performance for the rest of the half. Well that, and Gattuso released the Cutrone, also changing tactics by pulling Bakayoko off.

For example, after observing that all balls lead to Borini and that Borini was going to miss every chance, Piatek figured out that he should be in the penalty area the next time Borini missed to finish it off. So in the 57th minute, that’s exactly what he did. 1-0 Milan. 61,000 fans erupted in the San Siro, and the hopes of Milan fans all over the world also soared.

It never was only about him

Not to be outdone, though, Borini charged down an opponent to the cheers of those same fans just a few minutes later, then dazzled everyone with some serious skills in the 64th. However in the end, those heroics will take a back seat to Suso’s exquisite free kick in the 66th. 2-0 Milan, and mamma mia, I think I died and went to heaven. Excepting for a brilliant Gigio save in the 87th, the game was basically over.

Perfect vision

Well, there was one more important event: Abate’s farewell. Gattuso kindly subbed him off in the 84th to receive his accolades, after which, in complete tears, he took off his jersey to reveal his shirt: #ConIlMilanNelCuoreNelSempre I’m not gonna lie, I was a blubbering mess. Not only did Abate come through our youth system, he spent time on loan and then came back to us. Always loyal, always willing to give 110%, and always Milan nel cuore. The Curva Sud rightfully honored him with a banner before, as well as heartfelt applause and singing throughout the game and after. Especially tender were the moments when he hugged former teammates Gattuso, as well as Maldini, who came down to the pitch and escorted him from the pitch of the San Siro for the last time as a Milan player.

Great to see this again

The team got it done. At one point in spite of Abate, and yet also for Abate. And to keep our Champions League dreams alive for one more week, too. Saying goodbye to a hero of these past ten years was hard, but watching Milan play the way they did in the first half was not easy, either. It was the way they banded together in the second half, the teamwork and the determination that got not only the two goals, but the clean sheet. That’s what made this game one to remember. A little hope of what Milan fans have been craving: Milan nel cuore nel sempre.

This post inspired by the music of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”

Our final match of the season is
Serie A Week 38
SPAL vs. Milan
Sunday, May 25 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)

Milan 2, Frosinone 0: Con il Milan nel Cuore nel Sempre Milan 2, Frosinone 0: Con il Milan nel Cuore nel Sempre Reviewed by Elaine on 10:06 PM Rating: 5
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