After years of underachievement, it seems a new era is set to begin at AC Milan. While the club have enjoyed some success in recent years, including a seventh UEFA Champions League trophy in 2007, it has been a disappointing few years for the Rossoneri as they have failed to mount a realistic challenge for the Scudetto while city rivals Internazionale have established a strangehold on the Serie A title.
The £56m departure of Brazilian playmaker and the darling of the Milan fans – Kaka – has grabbed all the headlines this summer. Many supporters are still trying to come to terms with the fact that they will never see their beloved midfielder in an AC Milan shirt ever again. The fear that he will come back to haunt his old club in a Real Madrid jersey will be a huge worry for the Italian side.
However, Kaka is not the only stalwart of the Milan side to depart the club this summer. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has left for Chelsea, threatening to take a number of his top stars – most notably Andrea Pirlo and Alexandre Pato – with him to West London.
The Curva Nord also said goodbye to the legendary Paolo Maldini with the evergreen defender finally deciding to hang up his boots as he announced his retirement from the game. With the departure of Maldini was the decision by Milan to retire his number 3 jersey in a tribute to one of the most legendary footballers ever to play the game.
With new coach and former Milan player Leonardo at the helm, it certainly heralds a new era for the club. Left with an ageing side with top stars including Pirlo, Rino Gattuso, David Beckham, Andrei Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi all the wrong side of 30, the Brazilian coach will certainly need to freshen things up if he is to attack Jose Mourinho’s Inter side and reclaim the Scudetto.
The rebuilding job has started with Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko likely to appear in an AC Milan jersey next season as the club negotiate the terms over his transfer.
Holding onto top stars, such as the exciting young Brazilian prospect Pato, will be key and the club will be hoping the appointment of his compatriot Leonardo can help to sway “the duck” to stay.
Written by Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.