Grazie Zapata

Now that Zapata’s contract with Milan is officially up, he has signed to play with Genoa next season. I am really happy that he found a club so quickly, and I am sure that he will be a blessing to them. There was a time that his inconsistency was so maddening that I probably wished that he would just leave the club. But now that he is gone, I find myself looking back with gratitude.

How he should be remembered

When Zapata came to Milan, I was intrigued. He had all the makings of a great center back. And when he played, he showed that, too. Fast, quick, powerful, he really impressed. That is until his now infamous lapses of concentration hit. He has personally been at fault for conceding more goals than he scored, even if fans forget how many, many more great blocks and clearances he has made as well.

Fans will remember him for this past season, in our final Europa League match away to Olympiacos. First, he deflected the ball into our own net for an own goal. A collective sigh was heard from Milan fans around the world. Zapata had done surprisingly well the past two seasons as a player coming off of the bench. We were due for one of his lapses. But where he surprised was when, less than two minutes later, he scored a goal for Milan… with his stomach, no less. He didn’t win the match, but he didn’t lose it for us, either. Just classic Zapata, really.

He gave us reasons to celebrate

What fewer fans may remember are his heroics in the Derby in the Spring of 2017. That was the one where Icardi finally broke his duck against us, and we were down 2-0 at the half. After a heroic late Romagnoli goal still left us down a goal, it was Zapata’s 97th minute goal to equalize in a match that felt like a win.

Even fewer fans will remember that in his first season, it was his controversial assist that opened up the scoring in our 2-0 win over Barcelona at the San Siro. Or his goal against Celtic when we beat them 2-0 in the Champions League. Zapata came in after Thiago Silva left, a void that was impossible to fill. And he played next to players like Mexes and Bonera. He came and he stayed, through the ridiculous rotation of players that Milan has seen over those seven years. Whether he got the start or sat on the bench, he was always there for us.

Humbled and flattered when he first met Maldini in 2013

After seven brilliant years at Milan, complete with flawed performances and epic performances, Zapata has quietly and graciously left Milan. He was always reliable, and completely professional on the pitch and off. We may miss him more than we know, and we can only hope that if he scores at Genoa, it will not be against us. Likewise, we can only hope his own goals will be scored for us. He is a great defender, but an even better man, and that will probably be what we miss most. Grazie, Zapata.

This post inspired by the music of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Grazie Zapata Grazie Zapata Reviewed by Elaine on 8:41 AM Rating: 5
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