Italian Series A: The fall of Milan
If one were to look at a league table of the Italian Series A right now they would find a bit of an oddity. Juventus leading is no surprise, but Napoli, Lazio and Sampdoria currently holding second to fourth place is a bit of a shock. The old guard of Italian football, the two Milan giants are nowhere to be found in the top five, in fact you have to go all the way to seventh place to find Inter Milan. The peoples club of Milan, AC Milan, are currently closer to being relegated than earning a UEFA Champions League position. Yes, it's only four matches into the new league campaign but this Italian revolution has been a long time coming.
In reality Inter Milan knew what they were signing up for when they appointed JosÃ© Mourinho manager in the summer of 2008. Mourinho was brought in to do one thing, conquer Europe. And what Mourinho wants to do, Mourinho does (here's pointing to you, Madrid). In just two seasons Mourinho won everything, Serie A twice, the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League. Mourinho was brought in to succeed immediately and he did just that, but at a price. Youth players were given no hope in playing first team minutes and their starting XI was entirely composed of players over the age of 25. This led to an exodus of promising young talent as they all wanted a chance to play. Since the amazing treble winning season in 2010, Inter have progressively gotten older, slower and have failed to address many problem areas of the pitch.
AC Milan have struggled for different reasons as they have been forced to sell their best players to balance the books for the looming financial fair play regulations. This summer the Rossoneri let 20 players leave the club including Alessandro Nesta, Filippo Inzaghi, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Mark van Bommel, Clarence Seedorf, Thiago Silva, Zlatan IbrahimoviÄc and Antonio Cassano. No team in the world has enough depth to deal with losing that many players at once and AC Milan are no exception. A 0-0 draw with Belgian champions R.S.C. Anderlecht (who American Sacha Kljestan plays for) at the San Siro during the opening match of the Champions League showed just how far AC have fallen.
But just like everything in life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Both clubs have enough talent if nurtured correctly to return to the top of Italian football. AC Milan still have Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Robinho, Stephan El Shaarawy and Bojan KrkiÄc. While their city rivals have Wesley Sneijder, Fredy GuarÃn, Yuto Nagatomo, Coutinho and Ricardo Ãlvarez.
While nothing in football is guaranteed, the odds of both clubs being mired in midtable obscurity come May will be as likely as Nero finally being prosecuted for the Great Fire of Rome.
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