Grazie Capitano

Alessio Romagnoli came to Milan in a time of turmoil, a talented young defender who was a bright spot in a time of darkness for this club. By sticking it out through all of those difficult years, his loyalty was repaid with a heavy captain's armband at an early age. Then, as the club grew brighter together, his luster faded, and suddenly he was no longer the best defender or even leader at the club. Negotiations with the club over his expiring contract went on for over a year, and finally, he decided to leave on a free transfer. He did so in the best possible way, after having lifted the Scudetto as captain, and now has the opportunity to sign with the club of his heart. He gave us seven years of his career, seven years of his life, living through seven years of drastic changes at Milan. Grazie, Capitano.

Grazie, Capitano

Romagnoli came to Milan at the tender age of 20 and has given us seven years of incredible headers, tackles, and quite a few ridiculous cards, too. But he was also at the tragic heart of seven years of controversy, pain, and upheaval... having been coached by Mihajlović, Brocchi, Montella, Gattuso, Giampaolo, and now Pioli for nearly three years. He left just shy of the fourth different ownership and all of their respective technical directors, plus countless defensive partnerships and teammates. He outlasted them all.

A lifetime ago

Throughout it all, he may have had his random disciplinary issues, but he was always a loyal teammate and a natural leader on the pitch. He was always there to congratulate a teammate who scored or console a teammate in a loss. He was always true to the Milan shirt, no matter how poorly the club treated him. He never caused problems off of the pitch and set a good example for the other young players. It is an odd thing to have a captain change clubs at the age of 27, but it is an even more unusal thing to have a player handed the armband at the age of 23. I had wanted to try to recap his seven years in words, but words could never do justice to what he has given to our club. So here are a few pictures and a trip down memory lane...

Signed in the Dark Ages of Milan

Yes, he played for that captain

One of many defensive pairings (and yeah, that other teammate, too)

First trophy, the Supercoppa win over Juventus in 2016

Both young talents who started together, grew together, and shared the same greedy agent

Always in the right place at the right time

Always a fierce competitor

Sometimes a little too fierce of a competitor

In 2018, at the age of 23, Romagnoli topped the list of appearances by that age for defenders in Serie A, on a very impressive list of Italian defenders. Perhaps some of his numbers were because of the opportunities and faith given him by Mihajlović at both Sampdoria and then at Milan, but his longevity as a starter after that is a testimony to his talent. He now has over 240 Serie A appearances.

No stranger to big goals, like the stoppage time win vs. Udinese in November 2018

Trusted by manager after manager

Remember our pairing of Romagnoli-Musacchio in front of Donnarumma?

One of many red cards, some less deserved than others

Fierce in battle, even when wounded

Always there to celebrate with his teammates

Takes no prisoners* (*may take some prisoners)

He chose number 13 out of admiration for Nesta, but he is his own player

Not necessarily the referees' favorite captain

Epic goals, epic celebrations

Kjaer essentially replaced him, although older, but Romagnoli never complained

Even a leader when fighting ghosts, apparently

Always happy for any teammate to score

His final season started with a goal against Sassuolo...

...And ended with the win for the Scudetto at Sassuolo

A perfect end to his Milan career

Lifting the trophy after a 7 year journey of insanity

Living his best Milan life

When both older and younger defenders came in who soon eclipsed his speed and overall abilities, Romagnoli remained professional, and was always available for Pioli when needed. His quiet, stoic exit says more about him as a man than everything else he suffered through here at the club, and that was a hell of a lot. He is still a very talented defender, and will be an asset for Lazio and very much missed at Milan. His idol, Nesta, began at Lazio and then came to Milan, now he is doing the opposite. While it will be difficult to see him wearing another shirt, I wish him all happiness and success at Lazio and in life. Grazie, Capitano.

He wore a Lazio shirt to troll Roma fans upon his exit... now he'll wear it every match

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's "Pictures of You"

Grazie Capitano Grazie Capitano Reviewed by Elaine on 3:00 PM Rating: 5
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