More than Just a Game

On Sunday there is a lot more than three points on the line. There is a history of terrible ref calls, including one that changed the Scudetto win in 2012. There is Pirlo, who was an extraordinary player and good guy at Milan until Galliani wouldn't renew him, and he went to rivals Juventus on a free transfer. Now, homeless Pirlo is coaching Juventus, and rumors are that his job is on the line. Then there is the small matter of a Champions League qualification spot. With both teams tied on points, this is much more than just a game.

I would love to see a reprise of this on Sunday

Juventus vs. Milan was always a competitive match. While there were heated words and some unpleasant incidents, for the most part, there was a mutual respect amongst the teams. That all changed in 2012, with the infamous Gol di Muntari. A goal that everyone but Tagliavento saw scored, and Buffon lied that the ball didn't go in. But it did. Milan subsequently drew that match because of the goal not given. They had been in first place, well on their way to back-to-back Scudetto wins, but Juventus won instead. That was the beginning of their nine year domination. It was also the impetus for Goal Line Technology.

The call that changed everything

Pirlo was so beloved by Milan fans, yet now it is difficult to find a Milan fan who does not hate him. Galliani is to blame for being so stubborn and so short-sighted to let him go like that, but Pirlo chose to go to Juventus. His first season there coincided with the aforementioned Gol di Muntari, and Milan's midfield has never been the same. But then he gave interviews and wrote a book in which he said bad things about Milan, where he had played for ten years. Ten years. He left, went to a rival, and burned every bridge to Milan. Then he also became a homeless person for some reason. Now he is coaching (not very well) Juventus, and there is simply no love lost. It goes to show you that you can take the player out of Inter, but you can't take the Inter out of the player.

Another controversial call that went Juventus' way

Amongst other horrific ref calls, pretty much all of which seem to have gone Juventus' way, there was notably the handball call in 2017 on De Sciglio. In the 97th minute. The ref gave Juventus a penalty, Dybala scored it, and Juventus took all three points. To make matters worse, the shameless media had been linking Donnarumma to Juventus (kind of like now,) and Juve fans just assumed he was coming, but he wasn't (kind of like now.) Juventus fans were entitled and horrible to make a bad situation... more like Pirlo's coaching debut.

Then there are the current issues with Juventus management. Agnelli was one of the architects of the failed Super League, and in doing that, he may have damaged Serie A television rights contracts. His job is also reported to be on the line, but I'm not sure a win in this match would save him. Paratici and Nedved have been insulting the refs all season. Although Paratici was given a two match ban once, and both of them were fined once or twice, for some reason, they are not punished like other clubs' directors would be. Paratici even walked out on the pitch this past weekend to harass the ref, which is completely illegal, but no punishment. Maldini would have never done any of these things, but then again, that's the difference between Milan and Juventus.

We all feel a little like Donnarumma after a Juventus match

History of Juventus favoritism from refs aside, this match is massive for both sides. For Juventus, they risk not qualifying for the competition they never win for the first time in ages. And homeless Pirlo may also become unemployed Pirlo. For Milan, there may be even more at stake in the race for top four, of which this match is crucial. Pioli could lose his job, many players (including Donnarumma) could leave, and there is even a chance that Maldini could be sacked by our soulless management and CEO. Milan simply cannot afford to lose. 

Perhaps a win is too much to hope for, considering that we never win at J Stadium. But we have to believe that our guys can make sure that everything they accomplished this season matters. The stench of Juventus entitlement and domination has been stinking up Serie A too long. A win would really be like a moral victory, perhaps for more than just Milan, too. But all of this history is only history when the players take the pitch on Sunday night. They will be focused on taking all three points in this match, even if they all know what is on the line. For the fans, though, this matchup will always be more than just a game.

This post inspired by the music of U2's "War"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 35
Juventus vs. Milan
Sunday, May 9 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
More than Just a Game More than Just a Game Reviewed by Elaine on 11:35 PM Rating: 5
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