When Everything is On the Line

Milan have gone from the shining stars of Europe to a team that risks everything they have worked for. The players and Pioli said on Sunday that they need to achieve their goal of top four to prove that everything they have done all season long meant something, but they did not play like they wanted to prove anything. As a result, our fate is no longer in our hands. We sit in fifth place due to goal differential, but we will need someone above us to drop points, and we play two of those clubs above us in these last five games. The question on every fan's mind is what will Milan do when everything is on the line?

No one wants to break up this family

Just what is on the line? 

Champions League Qualification

Top four has been our goal for years now. With the start of this season and the finish of last season, top four became the expectation. Milan managed to stay in first until January, then slipped to second, but held steady since then. However, we dropped enough points that the other clubs caught up to us, and with the 3-0 loss on Sunday, we are tied with Napoli and Juventus, but are fifth due to goal differential. We play Juventus next week and Atalanta the final week of the season. However, after watching our performance against sixth place Lazio, the prognosis is not particularly promising.

To increase the drama, our club refuses to renounce their affiliation with the failed Super League project, for which UEFA has told the remaining clubs to pick a competition. Imagine being these players, having come so far and worked so hard through an injury armageddon and so many more trials, and perhaps qualifying for the Champions League, but being banned because the club they play for are stubborn and stupid. No wonder no one was motivated on Sunday.

He kissed the crest then, but it's been six years and no Champions League

Gigio Donnarumma's Renewal

The theory has long been that Gigio has held off his contract renewal until he is assured of Champions League next year. Who can blame him? He has been starting in Serie A for six years now, and has proven his worth again and again and again. Imagine him watching goalkeepers not nearly as talented as him competing on the biggest stage. Why would he commit to Milan for another year in the Europa League, or worse, banned from European competition altogether because of the greedy idiots in charge of this train wreck?

Yes, he loves Milan, you can see it in every performance. But if we don't make the Champions League after this season, it may never happen in his lifetime. Then the fans chimed in on Sunday, abusing him on social media because he had a friendly conversation with an ex-teammate and friend at the end of the match. Those entitled skfhak gfhiaoi fans are the same ones who sent he and his family death threats the last time he was up for renewal. What the hell do you people want? No one is going to stick around for this abuse forever. And if we lose him, we lose not only one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but we also lose his leadership on and off the pitch, as well as a lifelong Milanista.

Milan's mentor could be unemployed based on these five games

Pioli's Job

Most recently, people have begun to discuss Pioli's job. Before the skfhak gfhiaoi fans weigh in, consider that he tied Ancelotti's points per game record this year, and all that he has brought to this team. He is the longest serving coach since Allegri, and has brought us so many magical moments, like "Pioli's on Fire," for example. He is like a father to this team, and losing him means we start all over again. What if his successor Giampaolo's it? Can you really spend another year without Champions League, with our Serie A fate determined by a coach like Giampaolo?

A man of principles, who embodies Milan, could be pushed out or fired

Maldini's Job

Due to the complete opposite positions on the Super League causing yet another rift between good and Gazidis, Maldini's job could be on the line. He had not been involved in the decision to sign up for the hare-brained scheme that is the Super League, and was absolutely against it, apologizing to all of the fans in the world for such an unsporting concept. He emphasized that Milan has always honored the principles of sport, but will his Milan-ness cost him his job? That answer may be impacted by the success or failure of the team on the pitch. If they reach their objective, he still has leverage. But if they don't, Gazidis may use that as cause to fire him. Then there will literally be nothing of Milan left in the club.

One of our most dynamic duos could be no more

Other Player Renewals

Other key players are up for contract renewals, with contracts expiring either this year or next. Most notably Calhanoglu this year, who is likely also waiting for Champions League, and Kessie next year. Both have been essential to our success, especially since resuming the season last year after the lockdown. Both would be incredibly difficult to replace, particularly at the wages they currently make. 

Ibrahimovic signed on for another year, but he is facing a potential ban himself because of his business practices. If he is able to play, it definitely could be his last season, and you know that he absolutely wants to end his career on the highest note possible (read: Champions League.)

Will iconic moments like this be all for naught?

So Milan have five games to prove themselves, relying on the other teams to drop points as well. And they face this challenge with everything on the line. After defying all odds and sitting at the top of the table for the first half of the season and even clinging to second until this past weekend, can it really end so badly? We played the most games, had so many injuries, and one of the youngest squads in Europe. Could this really end without a top four finish? Or worse, still, be disqualified or banned because of Gazidis and Elliott?

Only five games more to prove everything and save everyone's jobs. That is how this season ends, when everything is on the line.

This post inspired by the music of NIN's "Head Like a Hole"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 34
Milan vs. Benevento
Saturday, May 1 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

When Everything is On the Line When Everything is On the Line Reviewed by Elaine on 1:30 AM Rating: 5
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