Friday December 29 2017
The Borini era

Fabio Borini has been one of Milan’s star performers this season, but Elio Salerno worries what that says about the Rossoneri.

When the unsurprising news filtered through of Ricky Kaka’s retirement from football, his former club Milan were fresh off the back of another embarrassing defeat, this time a 3-0 humbling at the hands of lowly Hellas Verona which saw the Milan club’s campaign hit a new low.

The retirement of legend Kaka offered Rossoneri fans a brief escape from their current nightmare, an opportunity to indulge and reminisce about the days when they ruled the football world. It was only a decade ago that the Milanese giants were again carrying the tag of the reigning European champions, with star man Kaka playing an instrumental role in a team that would later be recognised as one of the greatest of the last 20 years.

Up until recently Milan were known as one of the world’s greatest football clubs. Over the last 30 years they have wowed football fans across the globe on more than one occasion. From the legendary Arrigo Sacchi side that became the first to retain the European cup in the late 80s, to Carlo Ancelotti’s team of the noughties that appeared in three finals, winning the showpiece on two occasions. Those sides oozed class and contained copious amounts of talent, football royalty such as Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit followed by the likes of Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Brazilian legend Cafu. The present day club could not be further from what made Milan one of the greatest; only the instantly recognisable colours and iconic San Siro stadium keep the Rossoneri at the forefront of football though.

So while Milanisti are well within their rights to remember the good times it seems somewhat symbolic that a player like Fabio Borini has become an accepted and applauded member of their current squad. Amongst all the talent purchased during a big summer spending spree, the loan signing with obligatory purchase of Borini, a player previously capped internationally, was mocked by many.

Still only 26 Borini must have been in dreamland, after coming into the current campaign off the back of a disastrous 2016-2017 season at relegated Premier League side Sunderland, he now found himself at the mighty Milan. What would this bold new Rossoneri need a player like Borini for? After all they had better attacking quality to call upon and fellow new signings such as André Silva, Nikola Kalinić and Hakan Çalhanoğlu. Fast forward a few short months and with the season nearly at the half way point we have seen Borini become a mainstay in the Diavolo’s starting XI. Starting 13 of their 17 Serie A fixtures so far, clocking up 1080 minutes Borini has occupied nearly every position the football pitch as to offer; meanwhile those more celebrated signings struggle for form and a place in the starting line up.

The former Chelsea youth has become the ultimate utility man for the squad, used in a variety of roles under former Coach Vincenzo Montella, and we have already seen the recently appointed Rino Gattuso shuffle him around the pitch. The Italian player’s contribution has been admirable, never once has he shirked away from the responsibility put up on him; any role, any task, no questions asked. Any Coach can guarantee that when he sends Borini over the white line his player will fight every second he spends on the pitch. For Borini this his is chance to prove himself, rescue a reputation; his commitment to the cause, work ethic and attitude is second to none, matched by few if any of his team mates.

During a season that is becoming increasingly desperate for the Rossoneri, providing more questions than the answers they were hoping for it is those kind of performances from Borini that has seen him earn the respect of fans. This was no more evident than when his name was recently chanted by the Curva as he entered the pitch, but this says as much about the current state of Milan as it does Borini. The fact that the likes of a Borini can be applauded in this way shows how unsatisfactory Milan have been. Take nothing away from the unselfish nature of the player but shouldn’t that be the minimum requirement for one of the world’s biggest clubs?

The new owners have brought more doubt than stability, the concern around their finances has been well documented. The expectation was a return to the Champions League, but instead that reliance for success on the pitch is failing and the uncertainty is evident throughout the club. While Milan remain a hugely historic football club, their credibility is diminishing by the season and while they can always reminisce about the Van Basten era, the Kaka era; they a currently nowhere near meeting those lofty heights.

Mediocrity is reining supreme, the Borini era is in full flow.

Have your say...
Borini is terrible. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a 'hard worker' he is. There is a reason he has been a bust everywhere he has played and why he only cost 5 million. HE IS NOT A WINNER. I was at the 3-0 embarrassment in Verona and watching him in person only solidified my belief that we will never improve with him on the pitch. Milan's disappointing season thus far is encapsulated by how much playing time Borini has received compared to how little Silva and Cutrone have gotten.
on the 4th January, 2018 at 11:21am
I hate the ignorance in this sport. This is a milan post but yet there is talk about napoli. If you are going to mention Merten's incident at least mention Koulibaly's incident with no call at all. typical talk based on convenience because napoli deserve to be #1 no question about it.
on the 2nd January, 2018 at 7:28pm
on the 31st December, 2017 at 9:06pm
I disagree with the premise that 1 players is at all representative of a team or that borini has been the best performer unless you only consider guts and effort as key factors. Bonnaventura since his signing has been the stand out performer for milan i am actually surprised he hasn't left yet considering the lack of progress since his signing.

I do agree this milan side is worthy of mid table position still it is going to change one way or another.
on the 30th December, 2017 at 9:51pm
Mertens playing basketball in the box lol no var ? Really dont see the sense in prolonging the inevitable
on the 30th December, 2017 at 8:12am
@Rosario so who has been Milan's star performer? Borini is the only summer signing who has exceeded expectations and been consistent. The article has obviously been written to create debate but has valid points. Milan fans (me included) are praising a player who should be a bench player at best yet we are singing his praises. Just shows the predicament Milan are in at the moment, if we click then the season could end well.
on the 30th December, 2017 at 1:39am
yes indeed! in an era were Vincenzo Montella get sacked - while he was 6 points a way from second place- to be replaced with a joke of a coach like gattuso, i cant see a reason why a talent-less headless-chicken runner like Borini should NOT lead this misery of a team.

on the bright side, once upon a time juve era were lead by the likes of ranieri, melberg, polsen, and legrotalgia, so dear Milan fans keep the hope alive!
on the 30th December, 2017 at 1:29am
One of Milan's 'star performers'? The writer must still be drunk from christmas day. Take a break, please.
on the 29th December, 2017 at 8:10pm
@Mediocrity is reining supreme, the Borini era is in full flow

Had to shoot them down after knocking out Inter in a FULLY deserved Victory.. Thumbs up. Good read
on the 29th December, 2017 at 5:58pm

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