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.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Alex Mott,

you're full of jokes.

Benetiz is a clown.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 11:22pm
Inter dominated italian footbal for 5 years under mancini and mourino, I have to say that it made angry at that time especially with the way they treated christian vieri a star that gave his all to inter , and couldn't wish better than benitez to come and destroy this team and he did , now ur telling me he could be the one that can save milan ??? Very poor article
on the 26th October, 2012 at 11:20pm
Statistically Benitez is not a better coach than Allegri. He antagonises everyone from boardroom to changing rooms; a perpetual whining machine who cannot find a job for these reasons.

Have Tassotti take charge until the end of the season then see if tassotti turns into a Conte or pursue a Guardiola or Deschamp, Gulit...

Or just keep Max and suck it up for a season to sort squad issues and create a new "spirit" for ACM. I would rather keep Max than seeing Benitez joining ACM
on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:56pm
Yeah you're right, milan should've hire benitez. Then he'll start blame anyone and anything like he did in inter. First he'll gonna blame "lack of transfer", then maybe "lack of support", also don't forget about blame the referre, and ended destroying milan worse than allegri did.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:08pm
Yes, Benitez should be manager.

And Craig Whyte should buy AC Milan as well for that matter...
on the 26th October, 2012 at 9:03pm
Clearly a Liverpool fan trying to push off the most overrated and annoying manager in world football to Milan. Benitez failed at Inter why does the author believe he would do any better at Milan? Further, when has Benitez ever achieved anything without a sizeable transfer kitty? The problem is not Allegri but Milan's sacrificing of their team to get there books in order. The strategy is a long term one which unfortunately will only pay dividends in two to three years
on the 26th October, 2012 at 8:09pm
this is a joke. benitez is a disaster and ruined liverpool and inter.

stay away please milan
on the 26th October, 2012 at 6:29pm
Is it fair to say that things Milan must be very desperate if Benitez is their best option? How that guy ever won a trophy is beyond me. It would be a move only equalled in stupidity by the sale of your best players...oh wait...
on the 26th October, 2012 at 6:09pm
Have to say Rafa Benitez is one of the best managers around. Not a day passes by when LFC fans dont miss Benitez.
You don't win a CL beating AC Milan,Juventus, Chelsea etc by fluke.
You don't win the La Liga with a team other than Barca or Real not once but twice by fluke.
And as far as Inter goes, they didnt do any better after he left did they?
Benitez would need money to spend but not the amount people are making it out to be, he works wonders on a modest budget.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 6:05pm
I seriously can not stand how the clowns posting on this site actually dare mention amateurs like inzaghi. This is why the Italian league now has such poor quality. The fans r deluded and have such a low threshold of satisfaction that someone like inzaghi is put ahead of a champions league winner like Benitez. Do u fans not realise this is why British and Spanish teams mop the floor with Italian teams.

Good coaches do not go to Italy anymore. U shud b dam grateful to Rafa
on the 26th October, 2012 at 5:28pm
Wow it has come to my attention that 99% of the ppl posting on here have little footballing knowledge. The author of this blog is pointing out that Rafa is a big name and does win trophies, although not always aesthetically pleasing. His teams have knocked out juve, Milan and inter in the champions league.

And these idiot Milan fans are actually saying they would rather muppets like rijkaard take over when Benitez actually has proven pedigree. What other options have Milan got?
on the 26th October, 2012 at 5:24pm
as Inter fan, i share ur sympathy hows it feel like a laughing stock while ur blue cousin are cruising away?? keep it simple., berlusconi a con, fire galiani, sell ac milan then mayhap allergy can work his wonder.. it all clears that he is under constant threat all day from top milan boards shadowish charm to stick by him.. the players show it all aint it? Forza INTER!
on the 26th October, 2012 at 5:09pm
I cant think of many coaches worse than Benitez, Ian Dowie and a few others in England maybe but thats all. He was a lucky git however, I honestly believe the Liverool team in 05, man for man are the worst team EVER to win the UCL. And since then luck has abandoned him and he's been exposed as a total waste of space. Shame on Moratti for hiring the tool and alowing him to destroy one of our greatest ever squads. Milan 12/13+Rafa Benitez= RELEGATION...
on the 26th October, 2012 at 5:09pm
Galliani, pls sell away Amelia, do you seriously think he can perform at this level ???

Lousiest and shakiest goalkeeper I've ever seen, he should be playing in div B or div C !
on the 26th October, 2012 at 4:41pm
Benitez is a boring coach, defend defend and defend, nothing much to offer offensively.

Pippo Inzaghi is not a footballer, he can't even dribble a ball past a defender but he has this natural killer instinct to score goal in the box :-) To become a successful coach, I really doubt so.

Neither Guardiola is a complete coach, during his days in Barcelona, he relied very heavily on Messi to bring the team to the next game, without Messi, Barca suffered like hell.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 4:38pm
After watching last night yet another Italian embarrassment in Europe It's hard finding something positive to say about any Italian club. AC Milan need Allegri and they need to keep hold of him especially if the alternative is Benitez, the only club i would wish Benitez on is Inter but AC Milan certainly don't deserve the horrid Benitez. Milan is slowly improving and i feel with one or two signings in January they would be back at the top. btw. Every club Benitez managed has almost gone bankrupt
on the 26th October, 2012 at 4:37pm
Blame Galliani, stick with Allegri, he is still the right man to do the job. Currently Milan is like a vehicle with only two wheels running one on each side, having lost the balance after selling all the important players. @ d moment, Allegri doesn't have the right quality player in the right position to perform thus he's trying his best to make use of what he has to gel the team together and this takes time.

Pippo Inzaghi, Benitez & Guardiola are not ideal candidates for the job, not now.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 4:30pm
I didn't curse, I wasn't being rude and I didn't say anything inappropriate yet you dont publish my old post about you making fun of ACM and the fact that they actually might get pep or Rijkard. Shame... selective picks i guess.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:51pm
I'm a Juve fan, and it's been hard - as an Italian football fan - to see Milan fall so hard. This is the fault of Galliani rather than Allegri. But Allegri works with the tools he's got, and isn't a coach who really develops and nutures talents that underlies the surface. Rafa does. Guardiola does. Hopefully Milan, Inter, and Serie A can come back from this spell of mediocrity.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:45pm
Benitez is definitely a very good name, probably the only big coach that would accept the job without pretending massive investments. One issue though, his salary expectations might be too high for AC Milan.
Allegri is still there just to act as lightning rod, at ACM they know that if the situation doesn't change with a new coach then the Owners will hold the entire responsibility for lack of results.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:36pm
@ Fabrico -- after the catastrophe with Leonardo, where Milan were equally as bad as they are now, it would be a bad idea to go for a recently-qualified coach on the basis that they are club legends. In fact, I think it is deeply hypocritical to promote (on a coach level) an unknown quantity, despite the fact that Benitez already has a track record. The irony is just incredible. Make your mind up -- do you want a quick return to glory, or some lengthy "building" process? Patience doesn't exist.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:21pm
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't liverpool have the likes of Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso, Torres at that time? These were "true stars" at that time!

As for Benitez, no thanks.

He did a fine job at Valencia, did well in the cups, at Liverpool, (he was very lucky vs Milan in 2005), but underwhelmed in the league, despite having some fantastic players at his disposal. He has a tendency to tinker, demands a high salary, and a large transfer kitty. i'm also not that keen on his style of play.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:19pm
again you contradicted yourself.. you praised pep guardiola, yet you talked about pippo who doesn't have senior experience yet. Do you know pep, like pippo.. didn't have senior experience when he first managed barcelona?

please, alex mott.. do some research before writing an article. This is the second time you wrote such pathetic article. Last week you claimed la viola as the best performer in serie A, now you advise milan to hire benitez??
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:17pm
Benitez is a JOKE

on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:08pm
LoL... just LoL !!!

Rafa left Valencia because they couldn't guarantee him a HUGE transfer kitty to spend & so left for Liverpool where he spent some time before leaving for the same reason. What makes people think he will join Milan ???
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:07pm
Great article. Rafa certainly has the panache to sort this mess out.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:04pm
Please also not that we should NOT be criticising Bonera. He is not a footballer. He used to work in Gallianis house as a gardener and odd job man. When Nesta was injured, Galliani begged him to pretend to be a footballer and he has been pretending ever since. Ask yourself this, if you were Galliani's odd job man and had the chance to pretend you were a European standard footballer at one of the worlds most historic clubs, wouldn't you do that?!It's not his fault he his completely talentless
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:04pm
Why should Milan hire Benitez as Allegri replacement?
In the three last Serie A seasons, Allegri played 84 games, won 50 games, draw 19 games, lost 15 games. Gained 169 points, which means 2,01 ponts per game. Meanwhile, in the last three seasons (Liverpool 2008-2010 & Inter 2010), Benitez played 101 games, won 55 games, draw 26 games, lost 20 games. Gained 191 points, which means only 1,89 points per game.
Statistically, Allegri is better than Benitez. Although Benitez won European Champions League in 2005, it was merely "lucky strike" and due to AC.Milan complacency.


Al in Indonesia.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:04pm
Rafa Benitez couldnt manage his way from my living room to my kitchen to make me a sandwich, let alone manage Milan. The ONLY manager Milan should hire, is David Beckham. That's right, I said it. Bring back Becks. You heard it here first.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:01pm
Alex, I think this article focuses on all the negatives of the other would-be successors except Rafa. True Pipo has no senior coach experience but neither did Pep when he took over - and I completely agree with you - possibly the greatest club of all time. This is not to say Pipo would be a better choice, just trying to look at everyone from the same angle.
I respect Gerrard's opinion but that reflected a different team in a different time.
I just don't see what Rafa could bring to the table.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:00pm

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