The Return of Milan

Watching the finals of both the Europa League and the Champions League this weekend, one thing was clear: Europe is not the same with Milan. UEFA needs Milan in their competitions just as much as Milan need to return to European glory. Paolo Maldini won five Champions League trophies, and having him back at the club begs a return to European glory. So as the players return to Milanello today for tests, then back to training tomorrow, it’s a good time to look at what could lie ahead.

Time for a comeback

First of all, this is not a normal year. Unless you’ve just emerged from a six month hibernation, you’ll realize that this global pandemic has truly altered football. Normally, we’d have started Serie A, be a few weeks out from the end of the mercato, and into Europa League qualifications already. Instead, the players are just returning from a very short break, the mercato hasn’t even opened yet, and our first qualification match for the Europa League is still three weeks away, as is Serie A.

This means that fans panicking over whether or not we have signed a contract with Ibrahimovic might be a little hasty in their anxiety. Or concerns that other mercato transactions have not occurred – this is not a normal situation. We can take courage that we have the same technical and sporting directors as well as the same coach for the second year straight. This is the first time in years that this has been the case. And they are working calmly and efficiently to improve the team we have.

Champions League titles run in the family
(and yes, that is Daniel, now in the first team, on his mother's lap)

We can also be calm because of the performances we saw after the break with this team. We were undefeated, and with the second most points in the league during that time, too. Literally, had this summer been our whole season, we would have finished in second place. We have the chance to be that competitive over the entire season this next year, too.

Juventus are taking the gamble of a lifetime with Pirlo, which could completely change their longtime domination of the league. Inter are having yet another meltdown, which could potentially see them paying three seriously overpriced coaches’ salaries this season, plus whatever FFP rules they will ignore to try to bring Lionel Messi to the club. Which means they won’t be winning the league either. That could potentially open up two spots in the top four. Which is exactly how many places below top four we finished, despite starting the last season with the Giampaolo handicap and Gazidis meddling with the team as well.

Inter literally cannot win without wiretapping

Nothing is set in stone yet, the entire mercato is ahead of us for all of the Serie A clubs. But the serene way that Milan are going about things gives us a massive advantage when it comes to playing for a Champions League spot this season. Barring any new global pandemics or other freakish events, the team we had this summer was enough to propel us to the top four, and they are working to improve the squad, too.

Milan are desperately needed in Europe. Inter crashed spectacularly out of the Champions League this year, only to fight their way to the Europa League final. That is where their coach had a meltdown because of a childish taunt, and their star player scored the winning goal for the other team. You can’t make that stuff up. However, it is clear that they only win when they wiretap.

The irony of Juventus' reject winning the Champions League is just too much

Not only did Juventus not make it to the final this year, one of the players they sold as surplus three years ago so they could build a Champions League-winning team, Kingsley Coman, ended up scoring the winning goal to help Bayern Munich lift the trophy last night. Juventus literally dumped him so they could eventually buy Cristiano Ronaldo, amongst other players, and yet Coman won, while Juventus only hold the record for most Champions League trophies lost.

People discourage the Schadenfreude, because Milan haven’t played in Champions League since the 2013-14 season. Neither Juventus nor Inter have won it during that time, either. And we have been through so much more than those clubs during that time. Yet here we are, finally poised to make it back into the competition with only our second year with some stability at the club. Well first year, really. But Champions League is literally in Milan’s DNA. Milan were the first Italian club to win it, and have won it seven times. That is more than twice any other Italian club.

This is the goal. With him on our side again, it could happen sooner rather than later

Despite the unprecedented challenges of this year, how the dates are all different, and the mercato is out of order, Milan returning to Milanello still brings new hope of a return to winning ways. A return to the top four of Serie A, a return to the Europa League, and hopefully a return next year to the Champions League, where we belong. I honestly would rather have suffered through the three ownership changes and everything else this past five years than be a fan of Inter or Juve, who have shamelessly spent hundreds of thousands of Euros to come up embarrassingly short of the mark. So now it’s time for Milan to remind them of how to win in Europe. It’s time for the return of Milan.

This post inspired by the music of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter”

The Return of Milan The Return of Milan Reviewed by Elaine on 12:05 AM Rating: 5
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