On Monday morning on the 23rd of August the rossoneri and their faithful were a perfect example of mimic tranquillity. Far from a position as bad as that which Juventus are in but nowhere near the good one their city rivals Internazionale enjoy the club and the fans had assumed a middle position, they were the medium, the epitome of mediocrity and of it, they were, surprisingly, quite acceptant.
The supposed protests against the owner of the club Silvio Berlusconi and his recent meagre ways never actually materialised. The hottest summer temperatures Italy have seen for years appeared to have quelled the proposed unrest. Instead of acting as the catalyst for demonstrations and protest the stifling summer heat had made the rossoneri fans somnolent. The consensus was ‘yes, times are bad for Milan, but they could be worse’. By mid afternoon on Monday the 23rd of August the stoicism of the Milan fans had been rewarded.
The club, it was announced, were in negotiations with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, once the poster boy of local rivals Internazionale. By the evening stories were circulating that personal terms had been agreed and all that was left was for the club to agree a transfer fee with Barcelona. Understanding that Barcelona have financial problems, didn’t want the player and had already signed a de facto replacement in David Villa nothing, it seemed, was going to stop this transfer happening.
The following evening, Tuesday the 24th, news came through on the Italian sports networks that Robinho, of Manchester City, had rejected a move to Fenerbahce and was insistent on moving to either Spain or Italy. The rumours circulated soon after.
The only clubs big enough in Spain for Robinho are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Real Madrid aren’t an option because he already played there and was previously desperate to leave. Barcelona wouldn’t have space for him in the team. Valencia couldn’t afford him. He might indeed sign for one of the others, Villareal, Sevilla or Atletico Madrid, but realistically, it is unlikely. So, that left Italy. Internazionale wouldn’t want him, he isn’t exactly a Rafael Benitez type of player. There is a reason, after all, why Benitez is regularly linked with Dirk Kuyt and not Yoann Gourcuff, for instance. Benitez likes hard work and fitness, not occasional skill and finesse. Might Robinho sign for Roma? Perhaps, although only on loan, and it seems Manchester City are only willing to sell permanently.
Could Juventus buy him? Yes, the rossoneri reasoned, Juventus might. However having watched the last two Brazilians they have signed, Felipe Melo and Diego, consistently struggle it is far from clear if they would be willing to gamble on another samba star. That left the rossoneri.
In the space of a couple of days Milan fans had gone from accepting mediocrity to anticipating the magical and mighty. The rossoneri faithful went to sleep imagining that this coming season they might have an attacking quartet of Robinho, Ronaldinho, Pato and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Milan, from the mediocre to the mighty in less than 48 hours. Football, for its permission to our imagination, is a truly wonderful thing. Milan might end up with neither Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Robinho but the possibility to wonder without venturing into the absurd or comical is a beautiful thing in-itself.