Monza-Milan Preview: Berlusconi's "Bus Full of Whores"

Saturday evening, Milan will visit former owner Berlusconi's new cheap knockoff Milan team, Monza. While Milan are fired up after back to back wins and finding their way out of a dreadful run of form, Monza are incredibly the only undefeated Serie A team since the return in January. Berlusconi widely credits Palladino for this success, who came in after Monza started with five losses and a draw, but he still had four losses before the break, including their 4-1 loss to Milan in October. The true secret to their success is more likely in an incentive that only Berlusconi would have offered: a bus full of whores. Since he made that promise in December, the 'little team that shouldn't' have had three wins and a draw, including completing the double against Juventus. So while Milan are winning again and inspired, it will be difficult to come up with a better motivator... at least one that is legal or ethical.

Stuck in his misogynistic and criminal past

Palladino certainly deserves credit for Monza's improvement. The newly promoted team are the highest ranked of the promoted teams, sitting tenth in Serie A with 29 points. Ironically, they are level with Juventus, because unlike Berlusconi, Juventus are actually being punished for their wrongdoings. 

Their most recent match was a 1-0 win away to Bologna on Sunday. For that match, Palladino lined up: Di Gregorio; Marlon, Mari, Izzo; Donati, Rovella, Sensi, Ciurria; Pessina, Caprari; and our former Milan youth player, Petagna. Palladino has one doubt for this match, Carlos Augusto, who has fitness concerns as of this writing. By the way, if Pablo Mari sounds familiar, it is because he survived a stabbing in a supermarket in October, had surgery, and then managed to return to the team in December

The on-loan from Arsenal defender has had a traumatic season

Pioli not only has managed to get the squad's mentality and form to return slowly but surely, he is also getting his players back. Ibrahimović returned to the bench last weekend, and is more likely to get a few minutes in this match. Milan fans would love to see him score against the team now owned by the men who sold him to PSG against his will 11 years ago, effectively changing Milan's fate forever. 

All three of Tomori, Florenzi, and Bennacer are working toward returning for this match, with the likelihood of their return apparently in that order. Dest's condition is unknown as of this writing. The only player definitely missing still will be the one we need the most: Maignan. After Maldini said eight days ago that he would return within ten days, newer reports put him at potentially another two or more weeks before returning.

Ibrahimovic and his son Maximilian in a training match with the U-18 squad on Wednesday

In something that not even irony would want to be associated with, this weekend is also the weekend that Serie A attempts to raise awareness about violence against women with their "A Red to Violence" campaign. The players all wear red lipstick on their cheeks, and almost no one knows why (now you do.) The levels of gender-based violence never change, and the Italian culture breeds an atmosphere for intimate partner violence. No wonder Berlusconi still feels comfortable referring to women as "whores" or making jokes about bribing his players with women as if they were a commodity.

I like to believe that Milan will be motivated by a winning mentality, the one that earned them the Scudetto they proudly wear on their chests, as well as just overall morals and class, but Berlusconi knows that sex is a powerful motivator. While he was actually shocked at the backlash he received for his wholly inappropriate, tasteless, and misogynistic "locker room humor" of his offer to reward his team with a bus full of whores, Monza's results show that his team may have actually bought into his "humor." 

Then there's Galliani, the man who kept Maldini out of the club for all of those years...

Perhaps it is because Berlusconi's personal life and history indicate that he may not have been entirely joking, at least not until the entire world condemned him. And that is what Milan are up against. We are going to meet Milan's corrupt, "storied" past with our new, forward-thinking, and far more ethical present. Will Berlusconi's old, misogynistic, and financially irresponsible ways be enough to get a result and remain undefeated? Or will Maldini's young, new, and progressive Milan school the man who paid his wages his entire playing career? Maldini has struggled enough to put this team together with almost no funding, now he's got to compete with a man who offers his team a bus full of whores.

This post inspired by the music of Lush's "Ladykillers"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 23
Monza vs. Milan
Saturday, February 18, 2023 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Monza-Milan Preview: Berlusconi's "Bus Full of Whores" Monza-Milan Preview: Berlusconi's "Bus Full of Whores" Reviewed by Elaine on 2:00 AM Rating: 5
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