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Friday October 26 2012
Give Milan to Benitez

As Massimiliano Allegri nears the exit door at Milan, Alex Mott explains why there's only one man for the job – Rafael Benitez.

Unless you've been living under a rock, it'll probably be clear to you that Milan haven't started the 2012-13 season as well as one may have expected. Losses to Sampdoria, Atalanta, Udinese, Inter, Lazio and Malaga have seen the Rossoneri become the laughing stock of European football – not so much a sleeping giant, as a comatosed one.

The San Siro side sit in 15th position in Serie A, closer to the relegation zone than table-topping Juventus. And only the inconsistencies of Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht have stopped them from languishing at the bottom of Champions League Group C.

The swap deal that saw Antonio Cassano cross the city, with Giampaolo Pazzini coming the other way, only dampened fans' moods at the start of the campaign, and the sales of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain rubbed a vat-full of salt into an already gushing wound.

Of course, off-field deals are not the fault of Coach Massimiliano Allegri, but the downright lack of conviction his side are showing at the moment, surely is. No matter the starting XI, his teams are ponderous, talentless and, quite frankly, bad to watch.

Calls for his head have come loud and clear over the past month, with everyone from Marco Van Basten to Pep Guardiola being linked with the job. Publicly, Vice-President Adriano Galliani has said that the 45-year-old's job is safe - but behind closed doors, wheels have been put in motion for his successor.

The question is then, who should that successor be?

Guardiola is clearly the outstanding candidate. A record-breaking trophy haul at Barcelona, for four years he was at the helm of perhaps the greatest club side of all time. Only four months into his self-imposed sabbatical though, why on earth would he join a club such as Milan? People who know him may claim he loves Italian football, but when you could click your fingers and return to Camp Nou, or hold out for another eight months and have the Manchester United job, why would you come to a team in such turmoil? Clearly, you wouldn't.

Frank Rijkaard has also been linked with post. The man who left Barcelona and struggled at Galatasaray. The Coach who couldn't find work anywhere in Europe and so shacked up at the Saudi Arabian national team. In the situation Milan are in at the moment, the former defensive midfielder just isn't going to work.

Billy Costacurta, Pippo Inzaghi and Van Basten have all had their names chucked into the ring, but, again, in the current predicament, do fans of the club really want a man who failed at Mantova, someone who has no senior coaching experience, or a manager who couldn't find work for three years after messing it up at Ajax? No, no and no. That then, leaves just one man. One realistic candidate, who, given time, could turn the Rossoneri back into the powerhouse they once were.

“There are no stars in this team, or anyone with airs or graces. We are one unit, we work hard for each other and we all pull in the same direction. We have turned in some fantastic attacking displays and some really solid, defensive performances. For that, I must pay tribute to the manager.

“Keeping the lads on the bench and those have missed out on the squad in the frame of mind to make a significant contribution is a difficult task, but Rafa's been able to do that.”

Those the words of Steven Gerrard in his 2007 autobiography. Liverpool around that time could so easily apply to Milan now. No true stars, just exciting talents – with the right management, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Ricardo Montolivo could be shining stars of Serie A. Under the tutelage of Rafael Benitez, everything could be right again.

You don't win two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia by being a bad Coach. One FA Cup, a European Super Cup and a Champions League title with Liverpool does not come about by accident. Even in just six months at Inter, Benitez managed to lift two trophies with a squad that was tearing itself apart post-Mourinho. The facts are, wherever the Spaniard has gone, trophies have followed.

His tactical nous and expertise have seen him revered around Europe. Fans at Anfield see him as one of their very best. The Mestalla still worships on Rafa's alter. Milan just need give him a chance, and then they can hail their very own Rafalution.

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.

Have your say...
funny how nobody remembers zacheronni won the asia nations cup with japan
on the 28th November, 2012 at 8:53pm
I totally disagree with the writer.....a coach is as good as the players he has at his disposal....come to think of it Allergi won the scudetto in his first season,came second in his second season and a whole lot of players(Experience senotore)left milan en-mass and we are blaming the coach...why not blame the managemenet,why not blame those that are behind the sales of Thiago Silva and also allow Nesta to move on..
on the 31st October, 2012 at 9:00am
Italian Fooball , Italian Managers , undoubtedly the best way forward. Perhaps bring back the Trap or even Lippi
on the 31st October, 2012 at 1:39am
Perhaps Milan should try to entice the Trap or even Marcello Lippi back into the fold .
on the 31st October, 2012 at 1:32am
@ Boss, have you waked up from your dream ? Italian coaches are the best of the best in football business ! Who have actually raised the level of EPL standard for the last couple of years ? Its the Italian managers, mate ! History has shown that without the influx of Italian/foreign coaches in EPL, Ferguson is the only one topping the chart all time high ! Who else ?
on the 30th October, 2012 at 7:46pm
@ Boss

Italian managers are not sought? Last year:

Mancini won EPL.

Spaletti won RPL

Di Matteo won UCL

Conte won serie A

Prandelli went to the Euro Final

They are golden at this moment.
on the 29th October, 2012 at 8:23pm
If you are a true fan of the game and has good knowledge of the game, you would understand why benitez seem to be the one suited to pull out Milan out of this abyss. He has proven it over n over again that he's capable of bringing the best out of average players. While guardiola wouldn't dare t take that post, we should take a look at rijkaard who won everything at barca but has failed everywhere afterwards. It doesn't take a genius to coach barca but at Milan the difference between winning trophies and ending up like mazzari is that lil bit of genius in u.s.
on the 29th October, 2012 at 3:23pm
Milan still ahs good players,
Bojan, De jong, Montilvio, Pato, Robinho, El Shawaryy,

They just need to find the right manager that knows how to manage talented young players
on the 29th October, 2012 at 10:26am
i think a manager is as good as the players he have around him, if any manager comes to acmilan today without good players i think he also will be a loser like the one there now, i will be better for the team to add new good players cos what i am seeing in milan now are players that most clubs cant/ dont want to use again......
better for the team to add new faces
on the 29th October, 2012 at 8:52am
Bit of a wind up this blog.
The guy is trying to gain a reaction by writing nonsense.

Poor!
on the 28th October, 2012 at 1:16pm
@ mustuffa your inability to comprehend a message and to create a half decent response is a testament to your stupidity. You have no alternate suggestions to Benitez so sit down and shut up u clown. Vita Doria, I'm not talking about coaches from decades ago I'm talking about recent times. Correct me if I'm wrong but the last time an Italian team won the cl was with a foreign manager. In this day and age Italian managers are not the sought after managers, it is the foreign coaches.
on the 28th October, 2012 at 12:57pm
I'm a inter fan Benitez no way in Valencia had a best players an also in Liverpool I
on the 28th October, 2012 at 8:23am
@ BOSS

Nils Liedholm, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Vujadin Boskov, Jose Mourinho and Helenio Herrera are the expection, not the rule. They were foreign coaches who have made an impact in the Serie A but there has been a plethora of great coaches from Italy and there has been a greater demand for overseas.

Usually your posts are aimed to launch criticisms and attacks on Italian football but if you want to learn about the history of the game, especially in Italy, you might surprise yourself.
on the 28th October, 2012 at 7:07am
@ BOSS

Let's quote:

"Forget Milan now, them only Italian team flying the flag now is juve."

What did you just say here ?

"And these idiot Milan fans..."

You're the idiot, and Benitez is an idiot too.

"@ mustuffa u r the only clown"

Now, you're an idiot, wrapped in clown.
on the 28th October, 2012 at 3:53am
@ mustuffa u r the only clown. @ vita Doria,I hope you know that mourinho is not italian u muppet. The author has wrongly assumed that Rafa would even want to come to Milan. He is too good for milan. Milan have been garbage since Sheba and kaka left. Forget Milan now, them only Italian team flying the flag now is juve. Milan, inter, Roma, these are just names, has beens. Focus on juve, the most forward thinking, adaptable, proactive Italian team
on the 27th October, 2012 at 9:27pm
nah Guardiola is still not fully tested yet on big stage with a different team thus I very much doubt he has the ability to coach Milan. As I said earlier Messi always come to his rescue whenever Barca struggles, its a fact.
If Guardiola takes over Milan and the squad remain as it is without bringing in new faces, then I'm very very eager to see his real coaching tactic on Milan bench.
I'm still not convince he is a good coach, not at the moment maybe a few more years to gain more exposure.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 8:02pm
Rafa the fatso knows nothing about Italain football, he just waiting to ride on the publicity of a giant club like Milan, Inter or Juventus to bring his own name to a higher level without showing his worth on the pitch.
Look at his record with Liverpool, when Jose was with chelsea, Chelsea fighting for 3 competitions whereas Rafa fighting for one yet still can't deliver the result.
Allegri is still the right man, just be patient fans, he needs time to get the players working together !
on the 27th October, 2012 at 7:49pm
@not raineri

Did you just say inzaghi was a useless player?!?? Are you serious ? He's was one of the best attackers in the box Italy has ever seen. Educate yourself!
on the 27th October, 2012 at 7:48pm
No matter what the result is for the next 3-5 games for Milan, I strongly hope Galliani will stick with Allegri.
Allegri is still the right candidate to coach Milan, he'll bring the squad back to where they belongs to in the table, he just needs time for the team to gel.
Don't ever hire Benitez, just see what he did to Inter, from a treble champion squad to nobody, it'll become worst if Milan ever hire Benitez !

Till date no club, none is interested in Benitez services !
on the 27th October, 2012 at 7:40pm
@Pepe

I like what im hearing
on the 27th October, 2012 at 4:50pm
Rafa is waiting to join the Real Madrid where he will be welcomed home in the summer. Like DelBosque his bigger brother, we will reign in Europe again when we sack Jose after he fails to bring number 10 home. Mancini will be sacked soon as he is impotent in Europe. I hope Allegri turns things around as the European cup without Milan is just not right. Mancini to Milan, Jose to City, Pep to Bayern.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 11:38am
The most ridiculous article in Football Italia this season so far.How can Alex Mott expect the fatso Rafa steadies the Milan ship?I'm an Inter fan and I've seen enough from Rafa.Yes he won us Club World Cup and Supercoppa but I think Leonardo or even Strama could also easily won it.I still remember how Inter lose the entire first team member coz his training methods.And you expect him to rescue Milan?That's impossible,he will bring Milan to Serie B.This Spaniard doesn't fit to Italian football..
on the 27th October, 2012 at 11:15am
Milan could employ Gandalf or Harry Potter as manager, they still wouldn't be able to alchemise the very average players in the squad into a winning team. It's simple - if you spend no money and sell off your best players, you will become a weaker team. A child of five could tell you that; how come it seems to elude Berlusconi and Galliani?
on the 27th October, 2012 at 10:21am
After reading the Pirlo and Fiorentina blogs by Alex Mott, I thought that I would go straight to reading the responses and I agree with the sentiment. Benitez would be a horrible choice for Milan. The rossoneri would be better off keeping Allegri.

Rafa has the tactical nous but he wants the money to spend on players and he isn't a good man-manager.

BOSS, I shouldn't reply to someone like you but the Serie A never had a reliance on foreign coaches and Benitez learned to coach at Coverciano.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 8:35am
Guardiola not a great coach? Are you kidding? Rijkaard wanted to sell Xavi, and was reluctant to play Xavi and Iniesta together. Guardiola discovered and moulded Busquets into the best defensive midfielder on earth, and perfected a style of play that has lead Spain to unprecedented success. Already Barcelona is different, and worse, for his absence. Guardiola is the most influential coach since Sacchi, and maybe even more so.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 8:22am
Blog dismisses Rijkard to quickly, Rijkard took an average Barcelona team and developed them into a great team. On that basis he is a candidate

Gaurdiola - took a great team and won things. He has no experience in developing teams. Also too expensive for Milan

Inzaghi - useless footballer who could not run or shoot. However had an incredible career due to his intelligence, positive attitude and pure determination. He has the makings of a great manager, but is he ready?
on the 27th October, 2012 at 6:48am
This writer is a clown. He sounds like an EPL fan and has bias opinion. Please, FI should be more careful to post article like this again in the future. Benitez is a big flop for all european football clubs. He beat Milan in 2005 because he was just lucky and Gerrard did dive for the penalty ! More of that he is a flop at Liverpool and Inter so stop this stupid opinion forever.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 5:42am
Have no love for the red n black half of Milan, just loath, but in response to the awful article and its tasteless suggestion, Milan need to admit that the glory days are over. Rebuild the squad with youngster.

Find the right coach and stick to the plan. It won't bring quick result. Reality is like the elephant in the room. Its too obvious in front of you, therefore stop ignoring it.

Many coaches are suitable for this, if he could & would work within the parameter of the rebuilding project.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 1:43am
I don't know who exactly would be right for Milan, but I do know that Milan needs to sack Allegri. He is at a point where he has no more ideas and he is struggling. A newer, fresher leader is needed. Someone who can breath some life into the squad. Maybe benitez is that guy.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 12:32am
Wow totally pathetic article! Lol can any random person with no clue just become a blogger for this site?! Rafa for Milan? Hahahaha! As a juventino, I say yes please! Oh and the x-factior panel to scout new players, the chaps from Blackburn as the new owners and me as their new star striker! All things just as credible as this article.
on the 27th October, 2012 at 12:08am

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