Milan-Salernitana Preview: And the Oscar Goes To...

Milan will be hosting Salernitana on Monday at the San Siro. Meanwhile, here in Hollywood, Sunday night they will be awarding mostly white artists with small golden statues called Oscars for contributions to the film industry this year. As both Salernitana and Milan have seen plenty of drama themselves this past year, this preview will acknowledge the most outstanding dramatic achievements of these two clubs in the Serie A version of the Academy Awards. You're welcome.

Best Goalkeeper in a Starting Role, plus the only golden statue I could ever need.

Best Feature Length Drama

Salernitana wins the award for Best Feature Length Drama. While both clubs actually changed ownership this past year, Salernitana's story was by far the most dramatic. The club was owned by Lazio owner Claudio Lotito, although it was listed in the name of his brother-in-law, Marco Mezzaroma. When Salernitana gained promotion to Serie A in the 2021-22 season, Lotito was forced to sell the club due to a rule that no one person or entity can own two Serie A clubs simultaneously. 

The club ended up being put in a trust for the first half of that season in order to be able to participate in the league. In January of last year, it was scooped up for a mere €10 million by Danilo Iervolino literally in the last few minutes before the deadline. Had it not been sold, Salernitana would have had to drop out of Serie A, causing even more drama. The selling price angered Lotito, as he had asked for €70 million for the club, having invested heavily to bring the club up to Serie A. Far more dramatic than the very peaceful Milan change of ownership from Elliott Management to RedBird Capital.

Iervolino and De Laurentiis look ready for the Academy Awards, and they certainly know drama

Best Animated Feature

Iervolino's role in the ownership of the club is crucial to winning Best Animated Feature, also known as most changes of managers in a single year. Iervolino brought in relegation-avoiding specialist Davide Nicola last February, the third manager of the season, who truly performed a miracle in saving Salernitana from relegation. He was rewarded with a two year contract that came abruptly to an end when Iervolino sacked him in January following an 8-2 loss to Atalanta. Like a cartoon, Iervolino hired him back two days later, then sacked him again in February because Salernitana were in 16th place, just four points above the relegation zone. 

This time, Iervolino hired Paulo Sousa, who has the club in 16th place, a full seven points above the relegation zone. Salernitana win this award, although there is likely to be more parody in the manager role before the season is over. Iervolino also wins comic points for the fiery exit at the end of the season last year of Director of Football Walter Sabatini. In more comedy, he brought in his nephew, Antonio Iervolino, to play for the club on a free transfer.

An older picture of Sousa with Nicola, the former who has replaced the latter. 

Best Visual Effects

Sousa has not exactly worked miracles in the three matches he has been in charge. A 2-0 loss to Lazio, a 3-0 win over Monza, and a 0-0 stalemate with bottom of the table Sampdoria last week earns him the Best Visual Effects award. Different manager, similar results. For the Sampdoria match, Sousa lined up: Ochoa; Daniliuc, Gyömber, Pirola; Sambia, Crnigoj, Lassana Coulibaly, Bradaric; Kastanos, Candreva; and former Milan gunslinger Piatek. Sousa will only be missing one player to injury as of this writing, Troost-Ekong. This award will be rescinded should Salernitana play significantly better than when we met in January in Salerno

Best Director

Paolo Maldini obviously wins the award for Best Director. A deserved award simply for keeping faith in Pioli alone, even when the most devoted of us questioned his position. That patience and faith has paid off, with a 0-0 draw with Tottenham midweek being enough to send Milan through to the Quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time in 11 years. As a side note, his son Daniel also scored for Spezia in their victory over Inter on Friday, which just adds a little more polish on the Maldini name.

Paolo Maldini, legend, congratulates Milan players after Spurs match

Best Editing

Pioli recently got his golden statue in his Panchina d'Oro award, or this would be the Best Performance in a Managerial Role award. But given his incredible ongoing powers to continually edit his starting lineups based on which 5-9 players he had out each match all season, as well as his humility and change of tactics that raised this team from the dead, Pioli wins the award for Best Editing. Sure, there was the tragic loss last week to Fiorentina, but the performance midweek demonstrated his magic skills with mentality. 

Speaking of magic, Maignan is back. I mean he has played three matches, but he is back, and it is beautiful to behold. Poor Ochoa may have earned Best Performance in a Goalkeeping Role in January with his nine saves vs. Milan, but Maignan wins that title before he even takes the pitch. Always. The only player who will definitely not be taking the pitch for Pioli will be Messias, who is out injured after he suffered a lesion of his right thigh muscle in the match against Spurs on Wednesday. Now Pioli's editing headache will be to choose a starting 11 from a nearly complete squad.

Romero's tackle on Leao, as captured by Daniele Mascolo

Best Picture

The award for Best Picture goes to Milan for their postmatch celebrations in North London on Wednesday. Other nominess included the Curva Sud marching to the stadium in the bitter, wet London cold, and Daniele Mascolo's amazing photos from the match. Luckily, the players were already talking about transferring that winning energy to the league, even if I am still celebrating the victory. Since Salernitana was our first victory of 2023, I am hoping for an even better sequel to that performance with another winning result. Because winning again at the San Siro in front of our fans after this week might put some stiff competition in the category of Best Picture. And the Oscar goes to...

This post inspired by the music of Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 26
Milan vs. Salernitana
Monday, March 13, 2023 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EST*)
*Note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.

Milan-Salernitana Preview: And the Oscar Goes To... Milan-Salernitana Preview: And the Oscar Goes To... Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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