Thursday November 22 2018
Outcast Montolivo worth a look

Injuries have plagued the Rossoneri in all departments, meaning Gennaro Gattuso must utilise all fit personnel, even Riccardo Montolivo, writes Matthew Santangelo.

Milan’s injuries woes have been well documented and depleted what was already a thin squad at the start of the season, putting Coach Gennaro Gattuso in unexpected predicament. Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Biglia, Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli, Davide Calabria and Mattia Caldara are among the many sidelined for substantial time, throwing a wrench into the Rossoneri’s plans for a top four finish.

Gattuso and his Milan are now tasked with seeing this injury spell out and finding solutions to battle through to January when the expected reinforcements can arrive. However, for the time being, the fiery Italian boss must get a bit creative in how he manages this current situation and afford minutes to those fringe players with little to no minutes to their name this 2018-19 season. Yes, including Riccardo Montolivo.

The former captain turned outcast had been, for all intents and purpose, banished by Milan supporters for years, yet still seemed to get a run in the squad despite less than adequate performances. In recent years Montolivo’s lacklustre play, compounded by his injury record for club and country, has slowly seen his role diminish, all while still remaining on the club’s books. Over the summer, Gattuso made it clear the Italian international was not in his plans, and he hasn't made a single appearance since the first pre-season friendly.

With the sale of homegrown youngster Manuel Locatelli this past summer and the primary ‘regista’ Biglia shelved indefinitely though, Gattuso may be forced into affording the ex-Viola standout another opportunity to win over the fans before his contract expires in June.

Montolivo is one of several fringe players in the squad who have either been sparingly used or not at all, joining Jose Mauri, Andrea Bertolacci and Alen Halilovic in being categorically frozen out by Gattuso – mostly for technical reasons. But with the injuries piling up by the week, it’s all hands on deck for Milan when you consider the stiff competition to meet both their coveted league objective and travel deep into the Europa League, as they're fancied to do by many betting on football.

Running out the same group of players each domestic and European fixture is risky business for Gattuso, and even increases the probability of others joining their teammates on the sidelines. Chelsea owned Tiémoué Bakayoko has deputised in Biglia’s absence, and has slowly but surely begun winning over the initial critics with an admirable run of form.

But the ebbs and flows of a long season suggest the former Monaco man will drift in and out of form, meaning Gattuso must have options to work with. Even if it is understood that Montolivo will never come close to replicating the form early from early in his Milan career that “earned” him the captain’s armband, the Italian could be worth an occasional shift in an emergency situation – and one could argue that is exactly what the Champions League hopefuls are confronted with at this time.

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Have your say...
Hopefully Leonardo had some negotiations done for next month cuz we need many reinforcements.
Montolivo wasn't as bad as some comments described him. Yet, he's not the best solution now.
Can't understand how people would expect miracles from any player when B&G sold the team short.
Forza Milan
on the 25th November, 2018 at 12:03pm
lol, @Maldini's Heir you should write a book. In any event say what you like but the only thing I remember Monti being good at was back passes and I saw enough of those to understand why Milan was playing like a mediocre team.
on the 24th November, 2018 at 9:13pm
if milan can convert montolivo to a worthwhile cb by all means. In terms of midfield players there is still mauri bertolacci as backup options. Not to say he shouldn't have a role in the europa league or coppa

This team makes little enough sense without injuries anyway 5 years of b and g free transfer policies instead of building a team which made sense still haunt this milan side. Montolivo really isn't the regista milan seriously needs at the moment.
on the 24th November, 2018 at 3:42pm
Pjaca, Hernanes, Lemina, Rincon, Isla, Zaza, Romulo, Pereyra, Giovinco, Ogbonna, Llorente, etc... Not every singing becomes a "great success" simply because they're at Juventus. I can agree with your general point but there's more nuance than how you put it.
Also there's behind the scenes stuff we don't know. I doubt Gattuso or Maldini pushed out Locatelli because they're boneheads. There are factors beyond their control (player's will, finance, etc) especially at turbulent Milan.
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 8:30pm
even on my fifa teams, i would try to sell him. agree a transfer fee, then cyber monty wouldn't agree personal terms.... so hard to get rid of him..

honestly, monty's first position was CAM if I'm not mistaken.. even if it wasn't, i think he plays better up there, but in the pirlo role, no grazie
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 3:43pm
@maldini heir
He isn't Average he is even worse than average. If he'd have moved to Juve; wake up man Juve wouldn't have him in the team even if he was FREE with no wages to pay.
I do agree with you on Ambrosini and locatelli, why on earth was Locatelli allowed to leave.
You are joking right? Are you ok?
@Anonamous Prime
I would rather he didn't join MLS, even the worst players look great there and that would mean him being called up for Italy again and we really don't need that!
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 3:29pm
Montolivo is probably done with his career, I'm guessing he's out of the form physically and mentally now, but he didn't deserved to be treated as a trash by Milan, but than again he's not the first, I hope things will work out for him he seems to be good guy and a nice example of a sportsman.
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 12:27pm
the biggest mistake was milan should not sold manuel locatelli, they should get rid bertolacci and mauri and now they desperately looking for a midfielder. montolivo should been given a chance to prove that he is still worthy at milan. for Tiémoué Bakayoko. he still not shown a worthy at milan
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 8:14am
Montelivo might as well retire or come to MLS.
Milan really started to suck when he joined,and became a regular starter.
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 4:18am
The problem with Montolivo is he's trying so hard to be Pirlo but the fact is Pirlo can never be replaced.
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 5:33pm
@DOS, not sure I'd agree with that.
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 4:38pm
Ricardo Montolivo deserves some respect. He is one biggest talent Italy has produced in the last 15 years
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 3:08pm
What a mess. That is one player. We have done that to nearly all our players. And then fans and the media call these players "average". How is anyone in position to judge players who have been messed about as much as Milan's? Whatever my reservations about Gattuos the guy has brought some certainty to the starting 11. We do at least know his starting 11 if it wasn't for injuries. Hopefully that means we can avoid the mistakes with other players in the future.
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 12:48pm
himself as a replacement but Montolivo, despite being a broken player thanks to Milan mismanagement, constantly limited his playing time. This was then made worse when Milan, who already had Montolivo and Locatelli, decided to add a third player in the exact same role. Enter Biglia. Exit Locatelli. Now that we're down to just Biglia and Montolivo, guess what? Time now to freeze him out. Not last season when he was preventing Locatelli from getting games. This when we have nobody else to cover.
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 12:46pm
Not great. Finished third and beat Barcelona. I'd take that now. After that the first bad decision was letting Ambrosini go and putting the pressure of captaincy on him. Note it's not about quality. It's about consistency. It was all a bit downhill for him when he became captain but it wasn't helped by the fact that he and the rest of the team never had a proper, Serie A, top 4 standard coach. Arguably we still don't. The last two seasons are the most bizarre. Locatelli managed to establish
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 12:44pm
Montolivo sort of sums up all of the problems with Milan. Had he moved to Juve he'd have been this great success. At Milan it was never going to work. Because nothing works. His Milan career captures perfectly the bizarre decision making that has gone on off the pitch which has inhibited the players' ability to perform on it. After a reasonable first season where he was mostly injured he'd established himself in a fairly reasonable midfield 3 man midfield alongside Ambrosini and Muntari.
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 12:40pm
on the 22nd November, 2018 at 11:11am

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