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Friday December 22 2017
Montolivo rebirth at Milan

After being stripped of his captaincy and midfield role, Riccardo Montolivo has found a new lease on life at Milan, writes Matthew Santangelo.

Between sustaining serious injuries that prevented him from competing at major international tournaments with Italy to his documented struggles as captain of a fallen giant, football life hasn’t been easy for Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo.

Over the last several years, the former Atalanta academy product had been rightfully criticized for his poor performances, yet somehow, was handed one contract extension after another. As the Rossoneri take on his first club at San Siro on Saturday, poor form means the 888sport betting odds are surprisingly stacked against them.

The previous management of Silvio Berlusconi and CEO Adriano Galliani refused to strip him of the armband, and bring in someone worthy of its prestige, which fueled intense supporter angst.

Montolivo’s captaincy just about summed up everything wrong with Milan in what’s been labeled ‘the Banter Era’. However, once Chinese owners purchased the club from Berlusconi and came bearing gifts in the form of money and renewed hope, it was crystal clear Montolivo’s time was up – or so it seemed.

Once strapped for cash, the red and black finally had the ability to spend on top talent, and with that, finally upgrade all over, including the midfield – a department that’s been sorely missing difference-makers for years.

After Lucas Biglia arrived and Leonardo Bonucci moved from Juventus, it was obvious that Montolivo would not only be relieved of the armband acquired from Massimo Ambrosini in June 2013, but also his starting position.

To much surprise, neither new buy started well, nor did the club collectively play to the lofty expectations bestowed upon them in the summer. Because the new owners had invested a ton of money into this 2017-18 squad, the pressure to perform mounted. Yet, with Bonucci and Biglia’s struggles to find form, and Montella under the cosh, a chance at redemption presented itself to Montolivo.

Since returning to the starting XI, the 32-year old has found a new lease on life at Milan, something that seemed beyond the realm of possibility with both Biglia and Manuel Locatelli receiving more looks from Montella before he was sacked.

Under Gennaro Gattuso, Montolivo has undeniably earned his midfield role in the 4-3-3, turning in one steady performance after another, and has been a breath of fresh air for supporters who once thought they should rid themselves of his mediocrity.

Though he isn’t doing anything extraordinary with regards to his pass circulation, it’s the calming presence and consistency that allows Milan’s build-up to smoothly operate, look respectable and create chances. Dishing out the simple, high percentage balls, with the occasional risky one over the top, looks like the Montolivo of old at the very beginning of his career in Milano.

Furthermore, the ex-Fiorentina standout’s defensive efforts have aided the backline to the point where that alone is worthy of minutes. They’ve also given the likes of Franck Kessie and Giacomo Bonaventura the license to support in the attacking phase while he sits back, sweeps up and dictates play.

Since the days of Andrea Pirlo roaming about as the deep-lying playmaker of the Rossoneri, Milan has lacked a formidable ‘regista’ to pull the strings and keep things tidy in the middle of the park.

Biglia was brought in from Lazio to fulfill these duties and be the key cog to tie it all together – but so far, to no avail. With Locatelli still 19 and raw in many respects, it’s easy to see how Montolivo’s found himself back playing a key role for Milan at the end of 2017.

After spending north of €200m on nearly a dozen new faces, there were several casualties as a result of the new Milan regime. Instead of following them out the door, Montolivo stuck around and has been reborn – and he hopes his club can do the same sooner rather than later.

Have your say...
@Anonymous

Thats a complete LIE. wtf did you get that from??

Pathetic.


MAN UP
on the 27th December, 2017 at 11:28am
FI should write an article about Bonucci rebirth as a clown in Milan. LOL
on the 25th December, 2017 at 1:15pm
@vicky you are so sad you are crying to FI to stop someone from giving you a taste of your own medicine. You are usually the first to laugh at ppls comments on here now when milan is overly over sucking you want to whine and cry. Man up! Accept the fact that milan is done and bonucci is lame and ppl have the right to laugh at milan fans like yourself and others that constantly bash juve for no reason also on almost each blog around here.
on the 25th December, 2017 at 1:00pm
Montolivo rebirth shows Milan is going backwards.
on the 24th December, 2017 at 4:58pm
@MaldiniHeir Fassone and Mirabelli failed no doubt, but will their resignation fix anything? The ownership itself is shady at best.
Milan became a political prop years ago. Silvio knew he was selling the club to a shady consortium. Who knows what the future holds. Ending up like Parma is not an impossibility.

I honestly don't know how you fix this. Maybe we sell everyone with value and operate as a mid-table club for the foreseeable future, building an identity from a humble position.
on the 24th December, 2017 at 1:20am
Has anyone seen baccas goal against valencia today?

Didnt we pay all the money we got from his transfer for kalinic?

Im just asking
on the 24th December, 2017 at 12:33am
Mirabelli to resign. They have brought chaos to a club that could least afford it. Until we get the management in the club right we can forget about the players playing anywhere near their potential. One positive from all of this might be that the club will have a transfer embargo imposed which will give the squad time to gel. That's if many of the players want to remain.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:30pm
player who wasn't even that interested in leaving. The public spat turned the fans on the players and we are still dealing with the consequences. They delayed the decision to remove Montella even though he clearly was under-performing and when they did eventually do it in the most cowardly way they replaced him with a completely inexperienced manager whose limited experience in lower leagues had been a failure. Therefore, based on these numerous disasters I'm actually now calling for Fassone and
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:27pm
In hindsight the way they handled the Donnarumma situation was disastrous. It was pretty clear to me at the time that the reason the player (not the agent) was delaying was because he wanted to focus on the U21s and also didn't want to be pressured. Fassone and Mirabelli turned the whole thing into a soap opera. They negotiated through the media instead of with the player. The agent is obviously a snake but they played directly into his hands. In the end they did a pretty terrible deal with a
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:24pm
Montella had done the bare minimum to keep his job the previous season but when he said he needed to overhaul the entire squad to move up 2 places in the table that should've been the warning sign. I was initially impressed with how quickly and decisively they moved on the transfer market but then they just didn't stop. They kept going even when we already had players for positions. They spent 200m creating chaos.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:18pm
I didn't criticise Fassone and Mirabelli for the ridiculous transfer campaign partly because a lot of this was done at the request of Montella and partly because I'd spent the previous 10 years criticising Galliani and they gave me some fresh hope. But deep down there were a number of concerns. In reality the decision to keep Montella was clearly the wrong one and actually showed a lack of ambition. If they were serious about competing with the best they needed the best manager.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:15pm
league he managed. I mean what difference does the manager make? Why he even bother with a manager? You just need to sign 11 supercalifragilisticexpialidocious players and just chuck them together any old way. But not with 3 at the back. Because apparently 3 at the back was the problem. So really the problem is everything but the manager. Whatever we do let's not talk about the most important person at the club.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:04pm
The fans and media and sporting directors like Mirabelli are always looking for better and better players. Players are never good enough. We sign someone like Bonucci but apparently the 7 time Serie A winner is just not good enough. We can't possibly take risks with young players like Locatelli. We must stick with experience instead we use Montolivo. But when it comes to the manager anyone can have a go. Who needs an experienced manager. Let's just go with someone who was fired from every lower
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:01pm
Gattuso's apparently not the problem. He wasn't the problem at Sion where he lost 5/12 games. He wasn't the problem at Palermo where he lost 4/8 games. He certainly wasn't the problem at OFI Crete where he lost 9/17 games. There wasn't a lot he could at Pisa where he lost 22/84 games. It is a pure coincidence that he's lost 3/6 at Milan. With a CV like that what could possibly go wrong?
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 9:57pm
@Anonymous

@ dennis why not write an article about the best defender in the world. Who does not know how to defend hahahahahahhahah!!!! Haaaaaaaaa!!!"

lol.. December 23rd.. Merry Christmas Genius
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 7:37pm
@FI


You guys have to man up and publish posted that actually adds value to this page. I've been going here for 10 years now, but post like below adds zero value. Please take this to consideration. Extremely unprofessional.

"
You just sad milan is done . For a very long time. Done hahahahahhaha nothing for you nothing hahahahah"

"
@ dennis why not write an article about the best defender in the world. Who does not know how to defend hahahahahahhahah!!!! Haaaaaaaaa!
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 7:28pm
Let's evaluate this with observation. Did Montolivo make any mistakes today? No he did not. Did everyone else? Yes they did. Case closed!
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 7:28pm
HT Atalanta suprise milan. Hahahahahahha who is suprised? hahhahahahahhaaaaa
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 6:02pm
Hahahahah atalanta 1 milan 0 ahhahahahahah gattuso so stupid he ask for a ritiro ahahhah. Ritiro is for good players and teams that do not perform well for some reason. But hahahahahah you cant put chievo in a ritiro hahahahaaaaa milan really gone through now hahahah thats just going to nake the lame players even more lame. What now a space shuttle ride hahahahahahhahaha
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 5:57pm
Oh dear, kids, they call this kind of contribution ‘Jumping the shark’, I just hope the writer is being post ironic and/or subversive. Montolivo is a cancer to hat Milan should actually represent.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 1:09pm
Where are you Giancarlo C? My son?

I am looking for my son who suffer fatal delusional. He thought Milan will win Serie A and Europa League this year after Milan spent big cash for some mediocre players. Now, he's gone because Milan is so pathetic atm. He used to write his useless opinions in Goal dot com. Now, I believe he's here, hiding somewhere. LOL
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:46pm
Wowwww its so great to be a milan fan . We purchased so many mediocre players we are a glorified genoa but we have the best cb in the world and borini hahahahajaj and ricardo rodriguez hahahajaj and kalinic hahahahah haaaaa and frank kessi hahahahaja we are back boys and ready for the serie b season . For the 3rd time hahahaha
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:13pm
You just sad milan is done . For a very long time. Done hahahahahhaha nothing for you nothing hahahahah
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:08pm
Milan win 1 trophy. In 12 yrs hahahahahahah thats what you need to be studying vicky hahahah lord leo will bring you back to greatness dont worry . He relllll good boy he is the best . Juve hasnt concede a goal in a long time btw. Jus saying lol.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:06pm
@ dennis why not write an article about the best defender in the world. Who does not know how to defend hahahahahahhahah!!!! Haaaaaaaaa!!!
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 11:55am
First it was the hapless Borini & now its Montolivo why are articles being wasted on them? Why not write on why excellent players like Dybala n Naingollan are struggling of late or why the goals have dried up for Mertens n Hamsik this season. No article either on perhaps the best midfielder in the league, Milinković-Savić. I do agree with Viktor that the Bonucci bashing at every opportunity is getting old and boring.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 10:42am
"Maldini's Heir
If Sarri was in charge of last season’s team we’d have finished in the 3."
didn't he finished 3rd with napoli? are you saying we were as good as napoli?
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 8:20am
@viktor
Well, it was an ugly break up :P
Speaking of which, rumours about leaving in January don't seem terribly likely, even though I think there's a positive for all sides if true.

Either way, Bonucci does what he does and I'm not interested. Though a big loss, there are positives for having to adapt without him.
on the 23rd December, 2017 at 12:36am
@Anonymous

DUDE, again with BOnucci.. Are you serious? This article is not even about it? Jesus, cry much?

Got a Bonucci crush do we???
on the 22nd December, 2017 at 8:44pm
Seriously? Yes Monto hasn't been our worst player in our most recent performances. Since when is this worthy of praise? He should be commended for his professionalism in this mess but that is IT.
Locatelli should be playing over Monti, even if they are different players. What is the point of building the team's playing style around aging Montolivo??
Biglia's been shockingly bad, but his form could change at any moment. He was an elegant midfield general at Lazio just a few months ago.
on the 22nd December, 2017 at 7:51pm

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